Study 1: The Indian Lance.
First up I got N.C Wyeth's The Indian Lance. I really enjoy the violent rhythm that swirls through this piece. He really pushed the poses of the horse and rider that make them seem like they're on the brink of falling. The purposeful combination of values to draw the eye in and around the piece is textbook. It has a great silhouette and economy of shapes.
Study 2. - Leyendecker Saturday Evening Post Cover
Man, hate to be repetitive but I was scrolling through Leyedecker pieces and this one caught my eye. The dynamic use of shapes and the way he rendered is something I've always greatly admired about Leyendecker's work. The striking way he pushed shapes from thick to thin and the bold hard edges he used to almost cut shapes out on the canvas. This piece is nice because of the distinct silhouettes and usage of shapes to create contrast to move the eye along and trap it on points of interest.
Ok great to see where you are at. you have somehow shortened him up, and put the moon shape lower in the sky. When you are first getting started it is very important to really focus in on the mapping out of your shapes as accurately as you can possibly get them. If you put a shape in the wrong place and commit you end up having the other shapes off and require fixing, which increases painting time. By taking just a few extra minutes early on to measure out your shapes, to compare your shapes, and be sure they are placed and drawn accurately will make the rest of the painting process, working out your values and edges, much much easier.
You should flip the images horizontally and vertically so that you see the shapes with fresh eyes. This should be part of the process and if you are already doing that, keep doing it more. The professional artists will often flip images or use a mirror to see with fresh eyes as many as three or four times a minute as they are working when things really get flowing. You can also back away...actually get up and back away...and doing this works for shapes as well as checking values and edges.
I picked this because of the layering of interesting silhouettes and values. Has a pretty basic top down light to dark range of values but he arranges them intricately. With so many figures layered directly on top of each other it's difficult not to run into tangents, but he uses values to give these figures that extra pop to pull them apart from each other, even though they're so close. The reeds are a really nice tool he uses here to vignette the focal point and keep the eye in the center.
I think I get caught up in details too much and really should focus more on breaking down simple shapes.
And yes, getting the shapes mapped out correctly really is worth getting done - you'll regret it later if you don't
Try flipping the canvas horizontally and vertically when you do these, that can be a huge help.
I actually think your shapes are looking really good, but the scaling and placement is a bit off on the last one here. And yes, I draw my shapes too big all the time aswell Forget about details early on - adding them later will be so much easier if you get the first steps right.
Thanks so much for all the great feedback! I spent a little more time prepping and mapping out this next one and I think it really saved me. The intense foreshortening was really challenging.
Study 4. On Leapt the Canoe like a Runaway - Frank E. Schoonover
Researching the piece further I realized that the image I referenced of this piece is actually cropped, but cropped in a way that still maintained good straightforward composition. I really enjoy the powerful motion and rhythm throughout this piece as the canoe almost jumps out at you- the way the figure is balanced and sturdy despite the radical speed and the waves that blanket the scene creating the path for the eye to move around. I'm also drawn the sharp contrast of the light waves and dark figure and how the figure is chiseled and hard like the rocks in contrast to the soft waves.
And now looking at it with fresh eyes, I can see his right arm is not at an angle enough and he's hugging the left border a little too much.
Much closer on the shapes - it does indeed pay off to put in the time at the start Shapes are still a bit on the big side and you lack the relly light values, but you're definately heading in the right direction as I see it.
Nice start on these. You are headed in the right direction. When you get your shapes worked out well, pay very close attention to the values. 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.
I've always liked this piece and others of George Bellows. The way he can capture something like it's still in motion. I like the movement throughout the piece- from the obvious impact in the center to the crowd framing it. The ring ropes are great because of how they really hammer in the depth and scale of the piece and it was tricky to get them all wrapped around and layer everything correctly.
I didn't get too in depth with it but I tried to get some texture in there since there is some great texture in the piece and I'll be try to input more texture in future studies.
really nice work on the big shapes. I would suggest going into that background and knocking in the shapes/patterns as they are really important to the feel of the piece..even if roughly. You are on the right track. Be sure you are not oversimplifying. Keep it up.
I want to make sure I'm doing this assignment right. This is supposed to be an hour maximum study, right? Cause I've been going through these while being true to that and forcing myself to put the pen down when times up. Because of that I've been trying to keep everything simple and broken up so I can get everything in there.
Should I be going back in and trying to develop these studies further or just focus on what I can achieve in an hour?
Either way, here's the next one.
Study 6. The Last Stand - NC Wyeth
I really enjoy the way this piece is composed and rendered. The placement of the figure and the way he's carved out makes him look like he's part of the rock formations. Also the way he sets the perspective with a slightly lower eye level to make the figure feel tall like a mountain. It's a pretty straight-forward look at using atmospheric perspective in how he breaks up foreground, middle ground and background with contrasting values. Even the little shadows in the mountains help draw the eye back to the focal point.
Based on other threads, I think it's fine, even encouraged, to go over the 1-hour limit if you need to to make the study feel 'complete'-- ie have all the major forms and compositional elements blocked in and the values fairly accurate. Some of the 'best of' threads consist largely or entirely of works that took longer than 1 hour!
I really like the George Bellows piece, and the way you broke down the shapes and motions of the main three figures. The quick textures on the boxers' heads is great. Nice composition observations on the latest Wyeth piece, too!
If you need more time...take it. From the looks of things another 20 mins per would do you well and I think by the end you would be at a place where you are back under the hour time frame. If you put that extra bit into shape mapping/matching early, then the rest will flow pretty quickly as you won't wrestle with the drawing during the rendering and cleanup phase.
keep pushing...these are looking good. keep working on those shapes..positive and negative...so you get it as accurately blocked in as possible.