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Thread: jStins - Composition 1.1

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    jStins - Composition 1.1

    Greetings! This is my first post here after lurking for several years. Thanks for all the inspiration!

    I'm primarily a 3D artist, but have gotten to the point where I feel revisiting foundation art skills will be the best way to push all my art further.

    I started with Storm on the Sea of Galilee by Rembrandt for the movement the painting evokes.

    jStins - Composition 1.1

    Observations:

    -Rembrandt creates emphasis and force through high value in the crashing waves next to the dark values of the sea and boat. (Contrast!)
    -My observation of value was off by varying degrees depending on neighboring values. A principle I'm familiar with, but experienced quite a bit in this study.
    -Balance is maintained with small, strategically placed high value hits through the boat and on the right of the frame.
    -Rhythm: Slow beats in the dark waves and clouds. Medium tempo in the linear structure of the mast and cables. High tempo with the figures in the boat. Contour notes in the broken cable, sail and boat.
    -Sometimes you need to use a pure black or pure white.

    This was a challenging piece. I see a lot of errors looking at it now, but am curious to hear any feedback. I think I may choose a portrait or something more focused for the next one.

    Process question:

    I used a 4x4 grid to block the composition. Is this cheating or against the spirit of the studies?

    Thanks in advance for any feedback, input or advice.
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    I chose this piece by NC Wyeth for the feeling of solitude it creates, but also the anticipation and power in the posed figure.

    jStins - Composition 1.1

    Observations:

    -Emphasis is, once again, created using high values and contrast. Lighter values are used more evenly than the previous painting, which creates a calmer mood.
    -Wyeth uses economy in the trees and rocks as they fall away from the focal point.
    -Subtle variations in value with distinct shapes help the rocks read as a harder surface.
    -The 'V' shape created by the spear and branches is repeated throughout the painting at various scales (rocks, roots, etc...)

    Process question:

    I'm limiting myself to the 20-60 min deadline (roughly) specified in the main post. It seems like some folks are spending a good deal more time on some of these (or have really impressive speed!). Is it better to spend as much time as it takes to get an accurate recreation or to move quickly through the different studies? Maybe start fast and spend more time towards the end of the 20 study series?
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    great job so far. the first one could benefit from matching the sharp edges as it is a bit soft. the second one is closer on the edges but the values are a little higher key than the original in some areas and could use stronger lights in others. double check your edges and values in these. treat it like a quality control pass at the end if need be.

    keep it up.


    jm
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Manley View Post
    great job so far. the first one could benefit from matching the sharp edges as it is a bit soft. the second one is closer on the edges but the values are a little higher key than the original in some areas and could use stronger lights in others. double check your edges and values in these. treat it like a quality control pass at the end if need be.

    keep it up.


    jm
    Thanks very much for the feedback Jason. I see what you mean about edges and values being off. I'm noticing that I struggle with accuracy in mid tones and tend to go higher key in those areas. Hopefully those issues will resolve with more practice.


    I chose A Shy Peasant by Repin for my third study. I like this piece for the presence in the subject and the fact that it's not a portrait of a noble / royal person.

    jStins - Composition 1.1

    Observations:

    -Shape accuracy became more difficult with the organic shapes and folds in the fabric.
    -Repin brings focus to the face with increasing value, starting with darker values at the bottom of the composition. The dark values in the hair keeps the eye engaged with the face.
    -The highest value is a small highlight in the subject's right eye. I think this small touch gives the subject depth and a sense of being.
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    I chose The Man with the Golden Helmet by Rembrandt for my 4th study. The ornate work in the helmet appealed to me and I also liked the contrast between the hard armor and soft expression in the face.

    jStins - Composition 1.1

    Observations:

    -The eye is drawn to the face and head by high values in the helmet which are balanced by accents in the ear piece and collar.
    -Economy is used a lot to push the body to the background and bring the head and face to the foreground.

    Thanks for any feedback or input.
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    I chose this piece by Ivan Aivazovsky for its sense of depth and foreboding (the calm before the storm so to speak).

    jStins - Composition 1.1

    Observations:

    -Aivazovsky creates atmospheric perspective and depth through increasing values in the land masses that fall away from the viewer.
    -Rhythm is found in the boats, waves and birds.
    -The composition remains balanced with similar values in the sky, rocks and water.

    Process:

    I find myself exploring different techniques and workflow in Photoshop. I started by sketching large shapes using a grid in this and the previous study. This time I started with opaque brushes to block large shapes and value, rather than using pressure based opacity. I think the sketching helps with shape accuracy and thought the opaque brushes would help with value (and shape accuracy), but I'm not so sure looking at the results.

    Anyone care to share their approach, tips, techniques from a more technical level?
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    I chose this piece by Camille Corot because I like the bold geometric shapes of the structure and their contrast with the organic shapes in the shadow. I also like how Corot creates a sense of scale with the small figures at the bottom of the structure.

    jStins - Composition 1.1

    Observations:

    -Corot centers the subject and reinforces asymmetrical shapes in the structure with directional lighting.
    -Economy is used in the outer portions of the image to keep the eye engaged in the center of the structure.
    -Most of the image uses mid tones with selective use of highs and lows to create contrast and balance.
    -Repetition in arch structures and vegetation

    Process:

    I used the same process of sketching and blocking solid values, as in the last study. I think this may be helping shape accuracy, but I feel like I have to fight the workflow to achieve a naturalistic look and subtle variations in value. I think the 4th study is my strongest so far (which used preliminary sketching then straight to painting as I'm used to). I'll probably go back to that for the next one.

    Also, my value accuracy is still off and tends to be too bright.
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    Understood. Yes there will be improvement over time. You are headed in the right direction. When you get your shapes worked out well, pay very close attention to the values...even more than you are now You want to match the values you see as closely as you can. It is important to be very honest about what you are seeing. try to put the accurate value down with each stroke as otherwise you end up having to fix things along the way and being accurate will save you time. Really take the time to observe and compare and choose the right value. If you are off, adjust it, don't keep working and come back to it. You are doing great...just need to focus in on value a little more. Double check them at the end, like as a quality control checkpoint, before you upload the images. You will catch the issues if you do.


    jm

    Keep it up.


    JM
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    great work on your shapes btw...
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    Thanks Jason. I'm really trying to focus on value now that my shapes are getting a little closer.

    I chose this self-portrait by Gustave Courbet for my 7th study. I really like the pose, expression on the face and the forms created by the strong directional light. This piece also captured my mood after a bad day at work yesterday.

    jStins - Composition 1.1

    Observations:

    -Courbet uses economy in an interesting way. Most of the tight details exist outside of the face in the clothes and arms/hands, but the face remains the focal point. The economy of the face is framed by the surrounding detail.
    -The face is primarily mid/dark values, but is brought to the foreground by the surrounding high value. Dark values/economy in the hair, background and clothing create contrast that also drives towards the face as the focal point.
    -All of these properties create a circular flow in the image that keeps the eye engaged.

    Overall I'm happy with how it came out and feel like I'm getting closer on the values. I missed some of the subtlety in the eyes and feel my study reads more as surprise/oops, I crapped my pants.

    Thanks in advance for any feedback.
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    very nice work on your shapes with this one. watch your value gradations on the arm, and be careful your eye is not adjusting when you look into the dark of the face. you seem to have gone a little bit high key in the fill light. look at the whole piece at the same time to weigh that out...observe from peripheral vision to check values.

    keep up the great work.


    jm
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    Thanks Jason. Just when I think I can spot all the errors, you point out things that I missed completely. I'll try observing value using that tip.

    I got distracted by some other projects, but came back to this today. I chose this portrait of a lion by Theodore Gericault for the 8th study. I didn't have any high minded rationale for picking it. I just wanted to do a study of an animal this time and thought this was executed nicely.

    jStins - Composition 1.1

    I'm fairly happy with the shapes and value in the lion, but I totally whiffed on the background value (mine is too dark).

    Observations:

    -Gericault implies some edges that are actually very low contrast. (The nose edge to the background for example.) I think these edges are still visible to the viewer due to neighboring high contrast edges that act as landmarks.
    -Fur is communicated by a combination of soft edges / value blends along with a few areas of sharper edges and shapes. Direction of the brush strokes are important here (and that's another thing I missed in my study).

    Thanks again!
    Last edited by jStins; April 30th, 2014 at 03:40 PM. Reason: spelling
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  15. #13
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    a subtle sharpen filter might crisp up your pieces just a bit. You can be a little soft in some areas sometimes.

    The paint texture in the latest would be of good study. It is important to the feel of the piece.

    These are looking good. Keep pushing.


    jm
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