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Thread: Agerkvist - Composition 1.1
March 4th, 2014 #1
Agerkvist - Composition 1.1
I have the following questions:
When doing this study I stuck to the 1 hour limit and obviously I struggled since I'm new at this, but I see many other people here spending much longer on each study. Should I disregard the time limit aswell or just focus on getting faster?
I did this using no grid, guidelines etc. on photoshop thinking those would be crutches I shouldn't be depending on - should I just keep doing that or is some use of lines advicable?
And here's the study:
For my first study I choose Saint Jerome Writing by Caravaggio. I was browsing his paintings and this one stood out to me.
I fell for it because it has a kind of fantasy vibe to it. Old man, heavy dusty books. Jerome reminds me an old wizard hunched over his books, studying the arcane arts, memorizing spells or trying to find the cure for a curse.
Here it is:
Study 1 - Saint Jerome Writing after Caravaggio , 1 hour
There's definately a heavy use of economy here. Basically all we see is Jerome and his books. Oh and of course the ever present skull which supposedly was Jeromes own Memento Mori and a reminder that you don't own things, they own you. Should I feel bad doing this study with digital media then? I'm sure Jerome wouldn't mind, it's for the greater good afterall.
The piece is balanced with lots of value/color in the bottom right and lots of darkness in the top left, with the skull and darks of Jeromes abdomen almost forming a yin yang esque pattern. It's light vs dark in a way. Jerome and his halo on one side and the skull and death on the other.
This was really hard for me, I'm not used to this kind of thing at all but I can't wait to do the next. My placement is a bit off so Jerome is somewhat of a giant and zooming out at the end I noticed I needed much darker values on Jeromes clothing especially. I turned and zoomed the piece during painting as well, but got a little too caught up perhaps :-)
I welcome your critique and might I add it feels good to be here
Last edited by Agerkvist; March 7th, 2014 at 06:07 PM. Reason: Damn typos. I want a backlit keyboard!
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March 7th, 2014 #2
Here's my second study. Arsène Vigeant by John Singer Sargent.
This was my choice for my second study because at first glance it just looks like a painting of a man sitting in a char, but then you notice the rapier in the corner and as your eyes return to Arsène you take note of his pose. He like a gun. Cocked and loaded and he'll turn and have that rapier is his hand pointing at your throat before you could get to him. I don't fully understand the use of economy around the chair, other that it helps bring focus to Arsène and of course let's the rapiers lights catch your eye.
Study 2 - Arsène Vigeant after John Singer Sargent, 1 hour.
I stuck to the 1 hour mark pretty religiously because I think I need to get faster at blocking in the shapes before I focus on getting more details in. My shapes are a bit better this time I think, but I definately have to watch the picture from "falling down" towards the bottom. I will try to turn the canvas even more. This time I also played around with a completely new set of brushes and I still need to pick out a good handful of standard brushes for this. But it's all about experimenting right?
Now I know that my shapes, values and edges need a lot of improvement, but advice on how to get there would be great. Practice, practice, practice. Of course I know that Actually any critique would be nice right around now. 143 page views, 3 days since my first submission and not a single comment. Jason where are you?
I think I need to loosen up a bit, but it's hard when getting those shapes just right is so important. Ah, hopefully I'll have time for a couple studies tomorrow. Can't wait!
March 8th, 2014 #3
Hello Agerkvist, I saw your frustrated post in another thread, and thought I'd give you a visit! These are looking great for an hour. #1 is lighter on the figure's robe and left arm than the original. #2 is a lot closer, value wise, but could be lighter in the face and table cloth. The textures in #2 are looking pretty successful- nice job on that.
My thoughts on the time limit- I'm pretty much ignoring the 1 hour time suggestion. I just do not have the skills or experience both in art skills and photoshop to improve based on the critiques I was receiving. Since I have a limited study time per day, I'm currently using these studies as a way to maximize my time and improve in several areas at once- composition (obviously) as well as photoshop and brush exploration, endurance and finish, careful observation, etc, which all take time. I do faster studies when I draw from life. All that being said, when I continue with these, after this 20, I plan on trying to keep to an hour or under and I will slow down on other areas of study.
Good luck with these! I hope you get into a rhythm that will most benefit your current needs for growth. See you around.
March 8th, 2014 #4Registered User
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Hey Agerkvist, this is a great start can easily see an improvement from the first one to the second. The second looks right on track to me. I agree with Grumpy and her thoughts pretty much echo my own with regards to time limits and getting to know everything. I think it's more important to pay attention to shape accuracy and value than working really quickly. Speed will come with time and practice. Keep it up!
March 8th, 2014 #5
And yes, there's a few pretty obvious value mistakes on the first and lots of stuff that I pretty much didn't have to finish within the 1 hour on the second. I spent one hour exactly one those, partially because real life didn't allow any more time.
Nice to hear your thought on the time limit, and I see where you're coming from. My third study - which I'll show in the next post I spent a bit more than an hour on. My oldest son woke up with growing pains halfway through, and later I had to tend to my youngest a bit too, so lost a bit track of time But spending 5 extra minutes really lets you get in a few strokes that go along way.
Thanks alot guys.
March 8th, 2014 #6
Right then, here's my third study.
I picked this painting because I wanted to try a portrait. Faces are so expressive and so well known that the smallest mistakes mean the world.
It has a heavy use of economy and a strong emphasis on the mans face. Going outward from the center of the face details get fewer and fewer. His clothes are barely noticable which helps convey the fact that he's a peasant. His clothes keep him warm. Period. He has a stern look and his expression in general is so amazing.
What I noticed the most during my study, was the fact that even though his hair is barely visible, Repin manages to convey it's shape and form perfectly using very sublte brush strokes for waves and a few light spots in strategic positions. Very subtle, very effictive.
Study 3 - Head of a Peasant after Ilva Repin, 1 - 1,5 hours
The scale is a bit off. I tend to draw things a bit too big, so that's something to look out for. I started over twenty minutes in and had a better starting point a few minutes after. I had a ton of fun doing this one since I had my shapes and valus down pretty fast, I had more time to focus on details specific brush strokes. I struggled a bit with the light on his forehead and didn't quite get it right, but I came close.
Edges need work!
I learned alot from this one and again I can't wait to do the next one.
No more time tonight, so it might be a few days before number 4 gets uploaded
By the way - the forums are SUPER slow for me and have been for a few days on both iPad, laptop and on my phone. Is everyone experiencing this or just me?
Last edited by Agerkvist; March 9th, 2014 at 07:34 AM.
March 9th, 2014 #7
One of the best things you are doing is getting the feeling of paint in these pieces which is quite artfully handled, surface wise. You will want to keep pushing that, and pushing it even closer to the originals. However, moving forward what I would like to see you do is slow down just a little on getting your shapes mapped in and the values blocked in. You can flip the image horizontally and vertically and if you get stuck you can also use a grid to double check that your shapes are lining up.
Just put a grid over the top of both and compare the smaller shapes within each grid square/rectangle. Now, once you get the mapping out handled well, take a pass at the values and hold your eyes on the focal area. while you are doing that, look at the big value shapes in your peripheral vision...like check the values out of the corner of your eye...that way you aren't getting locked into the detail and are more easily able to double check all your values. Once you get your values right, overall, then get in and work smaller details.
If you need more time, take it, you will get faster at this very quickly. The main thing is to be sure your foundations and process is in order and after that your painting will flow much more quickly.
March 9th, 2014 #8
if the scale is off you can use the liquify tool to move bits around and get things in the right place. whatever it takes...there is no cheating digitally...although if you slow down and get your shapes right when you map it out, that will better carry over to when you are working in pencil or oil or...
March 14th, 2014 #9
Hopefully ill have the next study up tonight or at least this weekend.
And im so sorry I didnt reply sooner - I was sure I had. My apologies.
March 14th, 2014 #10
This time I didn't stick to the one hour limit at all. I've no idea how long I've spent honestly, because I've been experimenting with different approaches especially on how to map my shapes the best.
I feel that I have a good grasp of capturing the rough shapes and values pretty well rather fast, but when it comes to the finer details I'm seriously lacking in skill here. I started out wanting to make this one much more detailed than my other studies, but all tho I spent much longer I'm not sure I think it that much better. I got frustrated a few times doing this, having to remind myself this is about learning, not about doing perfect studies from the start. I need to remind myself that doing bad work is ok, as long as I'm learning.
I'm still switching between way too many brushes and I think maybe I ought to do one of my next studies only using a basic hard brush and focus on shapes and values solely.
Ahh but positive thoughts now!
Study 4 - Wearily after Francesc Masriera - 2,3,4 hours? I don't know.
Such a stunning portrait. Subtle use of economy to emphasize her face. I notice three dark darks around her face, only allowing your eye to "escape" going down her arm, from where the light on her arm guides your eyes down and round to her hands, all the while being lead by the darker darks. To further strengthen the emphasis on her face and hands there's perpendicular lines going down through her head and body and all the way through across from the panel on the left, through her arm and to her hand. There's a great contrast of the white fabric(dress?) lying on the chair and the dark background.
On to the next, this one was a struggle. Remember to have fun!
Last edited by Agerkvist; March 18th, 2014 at 03:23 PM.
March 17th, 2014 #11
keep watching your shape and edge contrasts....where if you are too strong in your sharps and too contrasty in values where shapes meet, you can end up without the same atmosphere. great to see your process and progress too. keep it up.
March 17th, 2014 #12
I'm glad you see at least some progress - I had a really hard time seeing it myself when I did the study, but when looking at it in comparison with my first one now I realize I have actually improved, however slightly.
Good call on the edge contrast - I can see how hard the white fabric looks in my study. A little softening would probably have gone a long way.
My next study is already on the way, but I've decided to spend a bit more time on each and I'm already having more fun - it easy to forget how much your state of mind can interfere with your art. I really must remember to go into these studies with a positive mindset trying to something rather than focusing on ending up with an exacy copy.
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March 18th, 2014 #13
For my fourth study I choose The Indian Lance by N.C. Wyeth because it's ever since I came across N.C. Wyeth's paintings - which was very recently - I thought they were awesome. They have this sort of comic book feel to them.
This particular piece is so dynamic and has this great sense of movement. The whole composition and posture of both the indian and the horse conveys the feeling of movement so well.
There's definately alot of economy at work here, it's about the rider and his horse, not his surroundings - but from the colors you still get a prairie vibe. NCW cleverly uses economy around the horses legs to get a sense of dust being kicked up.
Other things I noticed is the emphasis on the indian and the horses face and the resulting focal fall off - details get scarcer as we leave the area of primary emphasis.
And that shadow, does it look to a hooded reaper to anyone else but be?
Oh and before I show my own study, I have to show you guys my three year old sons take on this:
Obviously his value range could be broader, but at least his edges are sharper than mine!
Anyway, here it is:
Study 5 - The Indian Lance after N.C. Wyeth - I stopped timing these, but around 3-4 hours would be my guess..
I really enjoyed doing this one and I think it shows. Mapping out my shapes got much more attention and I think I found a way that works well for me, so I'll try and work with that. I'm struggling with nailing the sharp edges especially and I think my values might be on the light side looking at it right after having upoaded it
This painting felt much more withing my "reach" as it has much less detail and realism that the latter - I have a really hard time with lots of detail when not just doing a quick shape/value study.
Yet again, I can't wait to do the next.
Last edited by Agerkvist; March 19th, 2014 at 12:51 PM.
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March 18th, 2014 #14
hmmm...something happened on upload...can you please reupload...I will check back.
March 19th, 2014 #15
Done, it works now :-)
Last edited by Agerkvist; March 22nd, 2014 at 10:36 AM.
March 23rd, 2014 #16
Cute study by your son. He got the major shape close, but he's missing that strong diagonal element.
This latest one is looking great over all. I would say that the lower half could have used more attention, value wise, mainly in the shadow and the area around the horse's legs.
March 23rd, 2014 #17
excellent work. beautiful surface texture too. that made me happy to see. you are on the right track...just keep them rolling.
March 27th, 2014 #18Registered User
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March 28th, 2014 #19
Thanks everyone. Next study is in progress, but it needs a bit more work and I've been really busy with work and family so...hopefully I'll finish it tomorrow or the day after.
On the right track...ahhhh...it does have a ring to it
April 4th, 2014 #20
Argh has it really been two weeks since my last upload? Man times flies and times have been busy around here, but I won't bore you with the details.
After choosing this painting I actually thought about picking another one because I thought this one was too simple, but boy was I wrong The rough shapes might be fairly straight forward but the texture, lights and shadow haha...not simple.
What id I notice about the composition - hmm well strong emphasis on the wanderer obviously. It's underlined by the implied lines formed by the mountains in the background and the use of economy and contrast of value between the figure and the background. The rocks and the figure form an upward triangle which helps to suggest that the wanderer is infact above the sea of fog, elevated.
I might work more on this later, but right now I feel a strong need to move on to something else - might be because this one has been so long underway, I sort of become out of sync with it. Lost the connection. Hard to explain. No one peobably cares anyway
Study 5 - The Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog after Caspar David Friedrich
I focused alot on my shapes this time and I think I did pretty well - now and then I'll check things with a grid, but honestly I rarely use it to correct mistakes. I'll do my mapping with my eyes and if I make a mistake I take it with me as a lesson - unless it's really bad, then I'll change it. I don't want to end up relying on the grid and I feel that I can get shape mapping down if I keep practicing this way.
Hopefully my next study won't be this long in the making or I'll end up still doing the free assignments when my 12 months sub ends -_-
Last edited by Agerkvist; April 4th, 2014 at 04:57 PM.
April 4th, 2014 #21
Excellent job on this last one! Such a cool piece. I would suggest taking an extra few seconds and passing the sharpen tool lightly over the highlights on the foreground rocks, and then make sure to de-saturate it after.
April 4th, 2014 #22
Oh, and hey, if you feel the need to make these quicker, at the cost of accuracy, I'd say- why not? You'd still be learning a lot about compositional elements, but maybe not as much about finishing and such- which will be more of a focus in comp 1.2, anyway. You could limit yourself to a certain time limit for these and then give yourself an additional 10 minutes, or whatever, for corrections after you've had a bit of time away from it. As long as you don't fall into the trap of never finishing anything, you should be good.
April 4th, 2014 #23Registered User
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Sharpen tool? desaturate? What is all this wizardry you speak of Grumpysaur?
Agerkvist- Listen to Grumpsaur, she actually knows what she is talking about. That's a really beautiful painting you have chosen, never seen it before. Wonderful job you have done too, just look at those crisp edges! Now look at the edges in your first painting. Huge difference Keep up the great work!
April 7th, 2014 #24
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April 9th, 2014 #25
Thanks for posting Grumpy, I really appreciate it
And thanks alot! I definately feel the improvement and hopefully the next study is finished in a few days - gah, I don't even have time to finish a study in one day. It's sort of an uphill battle, but I'm in this for the long haul
@RaliVanMinks check your comp 1.1 thread, I commented on edges there, but basically it's using a hard round brush to start with.
Thanks for stopping by all, I'm so glad you're taking the time to look at my stuff
April 9th, 2014 #26I think this time it was mostly because I was away from the piece for awhile - couldn't really get back into it somehow. That being said I am going to try and limit myself a bit more on the next few studies and see what happens. the finishing touches is really a place where I lack alot of skill, so I need to focus on that - but as you say, that will be the topic of later assignments.
Looking forward to see where you go with these. All the best.
April 9th, 2014 #27
So true Grumpy. Overthinking is a vice of mine - sometimes you should just do instead of wondering how to. If you get what I mean.
And on that note, here's my next study - it's another N. C. Wyeth, just because he's awesome. This painting has that charateristic comic book feel about it that NCW does so well. There's lots of economy, yet again, and the composition is really heavy towards the bottom with the two hunters, but the light hitting the tree and the tree itself balances it all out. It's about the hunters, they're looking for something, someone, uneasy.
Study 7 - The Black Arrow after N.C. Wyeth (I'm not sure this is the right title actually, so feel free to correct me)
I tried pushing myself abit more timewise on this one and it shows, but I still feel pretty good about it. Lots of room for improvement, don't get me wrong
When uploading these I always notice a bunch of mistakes. Ah but that's how it is, isn't it? Maybe I should spend MORE time one the next hehe...my lines look so blurry now that I've uploaded it. But there it is ><
Last edited by Agerkvist; April 9th, 2014 at 03:34 PM.
April 9th, 2014 #28
Huge improvement since the beginning!
I really like The Indian study from NC Wyeth.
I like the brushwork in the last one, it's really dynamic, it gives the impression that there is a lot of wind.
I think that it lacks some "outlines".
There is also the big branch in the center that is too large. As it's too large, it's impossible to connect with the other part of the branch behind the snow. (not very clear I know)
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April 9th, 2014 #29
you went a little large on the two heads in the most recent but overall it is very close. keep up the great work.
April 10th, 2014 #30