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    SirSeffalot - Composition 1.1

    1. I decided to follow the suggestions in the original thread and study a Rembrandt painting. I think the emphasis is on the two figures in the center, with the dark values on the edges establishing balance in the painting. There's rhythm in the placements of the heads, as well as variety in the poses of all the characters.
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  3. #2
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    2. Rembrandt's "The Binding of Samson". I liked the sense of movement within this painting. There's an overarching perpendicular consisting of the cave mouth and Samson's hand that gives the painting a sense of being tilted. It seems like the most emphasized figure in this painting is the soldier with the spear. I tend to notice the soldier with the spear first, before following the other lines towards Samson.

    This time around, I resized my canvas to match the size of the painting before I started drawing (so I could use the corners of the canvas as additional reference points). Not sure if I was making things harder for myself than I needed to last time, or if I'm cheating the assignment this time.

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    Well, I felt a bit crummy about my first attempt at copying the Night Watch, so I decided to try it again. This time around, I think I figured out some tricks for how to approach this exercise better.

    1. When comparing two lines between my drawing and the original, it's easier to just assume that I already screwed up. If I ask myself, "Is this line in the right place?", my brain will almost always tell me yes. On the other hand, if I ask myself, "Should this line be higher, or lower?", I'll get a much better estimate of how close I am.

    2. If I'm going to be spending one hour on each exercise, I should be adapting a work flow that takes that time limit into account. If I assume I have more time than I actually do, I end up spending too much time getting the basic shapes in the right places. If I assume I have less time, I end up focusing too much on small details.


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  6. #4
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    For the third one I tried to do William Bouguereau's The Little Knitter. I've always loved the realism in Bouguereau's paintings, and the way he uses shadows to add definition to his subjects' faces. (There's a great deal of contrast between light and dark in most of Bouguereau's paintings). In this painting, the economy of the background helps emphasis the figure of the girl, while the plants on either side of her add both balance and rhythm to the piece.

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    (Drawn in 90 minutes. I went over the hour limit mostly because I got a bit obsessed with getting the face to look right. It's still off, but at least now she doesn't look 50.)

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    4. Old Woman Frying Eggs, by Diego Velasquez. Browsing wikipedia, this piece just looked like it'd be a ton of fun to try to draw. The thing that really sticks out is the prevalence of circular shapes in the picture: the eggs, the pots, etc. The dark background really makes all the objects in the picture stand out, and kind of makes it look like everything is floating in space. Just from a brief glance, I got sort of a Dali-ish vibe from this picture.

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    really nice job. a few dark darks and a slight adjustment in the middle values to dark range and this one is aced. for these quick studies it is ok if they are left loose, but do all you can to nail every value range. keep up the great work.

    jm

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    5. The Crab, by William A Bouguereau. I liked the strong shapes that were present in this picture, and the strong contrast between the light and dark areas.

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    6. Arachne, by Diego Velasquez. Between this and the egg frying picture (and a couple of other paintings I've glanced at), Velasquez really likes to use an overbearing dark color to bring out the shapes in his pictures.
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    7. Samson and Delilah, by Van Dyck. I think it's interesting the that dark backgrounds on the left and right sides of this picture not only add balance, but also "pushes" your attention towards the center of the picture towards the main emphasis.

    After working on a couple of "simple" portraits, I think my problem with the more complicated pictures is that I try to focus on too many things at once. In the future, I should try to spend more time really making sure the big shapes are in the right places before I move on.

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  12. #10
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    You're doing some great work, and I'm learning a lot just from reading what you observe about each painting as you do them. Especially what you said about assuming you've already made a mistake and placing paint that way; I hadn't considered it that way before.

    You're quite good at the values. With the latest one, though, I think you've missed some of the higher values, particularly in the leftmost figure -- their tunic is a lot lighter than you painted, and you missed some highlights to the left of the heel. Keep up the good work!

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    I did a retry of the Van Dyck painting.

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    I just think, especially with complicated paintings like this one, it's important to make sure everything is accurate at the beginning. Like, if one of the shapes is out of place at the beginning, then everything you draw afterwards will be out of place. Or, like, if you make one of the values too bright at the beginning (like I did here with the retry), then everything that you draw afterwards will be too bright.

    I also made an animated gif of my process, just for fun. (Hyperlink'd because it's like half a meg.)
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/...vd2process.gif

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    8. The Death of Caesar, by Jean-Leon Gerome.
    There's a very strong use of repetition in this piece. There's repetition in the columns to the right, in the seats of the audience, and in the raised arms of the senators.

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    9. Oosisoak, by Frederick Edwin Church. The shape of the dog is emphasized by the light background.

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    10. Mount Corcoran, by Albert Bierstadt. I think the emphasis is on the hills on the opposite side of the lake, where the contrast in the painting is the strongest. There's also continuity in the bright part of the hills on the opposite side of the lake with the beach that is closer to the viewer.

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    Last edited by SirSeffalot; March 22nd, 2014 at 11:47 AM.

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    11. Thuvia, Maid of Mars, by Frank Frazetta. The positioning of the white castle in the background serves to draw the viewer's attention towards Batman, especially since his center of mass is lined up with the apex of the castle. There's also some rhythm in the background with the planets and the bulbous parts of the building.

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    For me, I think the biggest take-home message of these exercises has been just how much art is a process of refining.

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    12. Concept Artwork from Dark Souls. This isn't really by a famous artist or anything, but I really liked the composition in this piece, and how the things in the picture are arranged to direct your attention to the big window in the center of the picture. The bright lights at the very top and the bottom of the painting add balance to the picture. The windows form sort of a cross shape that directs your attention towards the big window in the center. That aside, the columns and windows in this picture also provide an example of repetition.

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  19. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by SirSeffalot View Post
    draw the viewer's attention towards Batman
    Bwaaahaaahaaaaa!!!!
    "Figure drawing prepares you for painting at a high level" - Jeff Watts

    Sketchbook

  20. #18
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    Nice work. You are really turning out a lot of pieces and getting better consistently. You are on the right path for sure. Your shapes and values are coming along well. Be sure that you are keeping a close eye on your edges. Note where the sharpest sharpest sharps and softest soft edges are and use them as guideposts/landmarks for the rests of the edges in the image. Edges are important to space, form, and focal areas, so getting those in there will help the piece a lot. Once you do, you will see quality improve a lot.

    Keep up the great work. -jm

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  22. #19
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    12. One more step, by Wyeth. Really should've used this for my 19th study, since the title would be more appropriate then. Maybe I could've done a better study if I put one more step into this, but that's true for just about everything in general.

    There is a strong upwards emphasis in this picture, with many of the lines converging above the picture. The contrast is also stronger around the figure on the top, so I think the top character is the main emphasis of the painting and the bottom character is the secondary emphasis. The lines in this picture provide an example of both repetition and rhythm. The dark colors of the figure on top balances out the dark colors at the bottom of the painting.

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    I lost about two days because I updated to Windows 8.1 and it made my tablet stop working. Hope I haven't gotten too rusty during that time...

    13. Woman with Pearl, by Jean Baptiste Camille Corot.

    What I've been noticing is that it's easier to compare shapes than it is to compare points. Previously, I've kind of been pressing my nose against the screen to compare the distance of each point from the edge of the canvas, and it was really slow and a pain. With comparing shapes, I can get a relatively good estimate just by eyeballing it. I think I'm learning more from this shapes approach too, since I'm paying more attention to the relative positions of shapes to each other rather than focusing on getting a pixel perfect reproduction.

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    14. The Bridge at Narni, by Jean Baptiste Camille Corot.

    I've noted this before with Van Dyck's Samson painting, but balance can be used to direct a person's view. When I see two dark shapes on either side of a painting, I tend to focus on the area between those shapes. There's also some continuity with the top of the hill on the left and the road/path below the hill on the right.

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    15. October 17, by Ilya Repin. There are a lot of things going on in the picture, but there' a focus on the bright colors in the center of the picture. The viewer's eyes are drawn to the bouquet being held up near the center of the picture.

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  26. #23
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    I am really happy to see how well you are handling getting things roughed in this well. Keep a closer eye on your edges and keep double and triple checking your shapes. You are on the right path sir.


    j

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    16. Vsevolod Mikhailovich Garshin, by Repin.

    For the last few pieces, I looked for drawings with relative simple shapes and a strong focus on a single subject. With some of the overly complex paintings I've been doing, I haven't had a chance to really get into the details of the drawing.

    This painting uses economy in the background, and there are examples of rhythm in the stacks of papers and in the folds on the clothing.

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    You are doing a really great job. Watch your values even more closely as you are a little bit high key on the most recent..maybe five percent too much toward the light in much of the piece. i was going to tell you to really keep a closer eye on your shapes but the most recent image resolved that...so now I know that can be solved with your future pieces

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  30. #26
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    Thanks for the feedback! It's hard to accurately judge values in some textured areas that look like a mix of two different values, but I'll try to focus more on the values for my next couple of paintings.

    17. Miss Mary Ellison, by Mary Cassatt. The artist used bright colors to draw emphasis towards the woman's face. There is some repetition in the use of "arches" (the top of the fan, the back of the couch, the woman's shoulders and arms).

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    Last edited by SirSeffalot; March 30th, 2014 at 03:00 AM.

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    18. Fate, by Alphonse Mucha. I picked this painting mainly because I wanted to get some practice drawing faces. The painting as a whole is unified by the use of bright colors. The woman's face is strongly emphasized due to the use of dark colors compared to the bright colors used in most of the painting. Asides from the face, the dark colors in the other parts of the painting (where the woman's hands are) help add balance to the painting. The designs on the woman's sleeves add rhythm to this piece.

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    19. Achilles De Gas in the Uniform of a Cadet, by Edgar Degas.

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    The values in the last picture are very close, but I think the blending and values on his face are the biggest differences. otherwise, great work

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    20. Italian Girl Drawing Water, by William Bouguereau. This piece uses a lot of straight diagonals, which not only provides unity to the painting but also helps to draw attention towards the center of the painting. The woman's face is also emphasized by the strong contrast between black and white. There is repetition in the diagonal shafts holding up the bridge in the background.

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