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This is a current WIP of mine that is nearing completion. before I finish it though I would like your input. I've been struggling with the light especially, to make it feel bright. So any comments on that are appreciated, but I'd love to hear about anything else you see that needs fixing/improving.
It looks nice. The goal of being bright is a relative goal. The mind seeks bright as a comparison to something. You do have some areas of dark tones but the brightness, seems to me, looks more like a washed out look. Maybe playing with the warmth of the colors or saturation of the colors. Blue is a very hard color choice to make something pop out as bright, to the viewer. Warmer colors seem brighter, like reds and yellows. I really think, if sticking with the limited pallet of blues, using a more saturated blue in the forground could help give more brightness to the image.
The lighting on the face puts the shadow down to the 5:00oclock area and seems the light is comming from above at 11:00oclock and a litte front of the form yet the shadow on the dress seems to be comming from 7:00oclock area and maybe a little behind the form.
I like the composition of the flag, dress and main form. Is this a croping of a larger image? The flag pole leaving the image breaks the flow of your composition.
I look forward to the finished form. It is a very dynamic art work. Thank you for sharing.
If you want to make it bright such as "noon sunshine bright", then I think you don't have nearly enough contrast
A strong light source won't only create bright areas but it'll also cast strong shadows. Moreover, since there is going to be a lot of light around, I think there will be lots of reflective light and that those shadows will be rather strongly saturated.
Also since everything apart from the light source is blue in your painting (sky, dress, flag), those shadows will probably have a cold hue because every secondary light source is cold. If your light source is the sunlight then the directly lit area will probably be warm.
I made a very quick paintover to illustrate my points. But take it with a pinch of salt because I still have a lot to learn and am not nearly as qualified that most people here :o
Thanks for the comments and paintover jlyvers743 and Aliciane! I appreciate it. They give me a direction to proceed in. The values and colours of the shadows were one of my main struggling points.
Aliciane, would more reflective light not also lessen the contrast and decrease the feeling of brightness? I suppose I also don't really understand how lighting affects saturation. My general heuristic is: if the light areas are saturated --> the shadows are muted and vice versa. I did the same with cold light vs warm shadows, but your point about all the reflective light being blue makes sense.
jlyvers743, about the shadow placement, do you feel it's just technically incorrect or does it also hurt the piece in it's believability? I don't mind taking some liberties with realism if it helps the composition, but if the price is too high I should reconsider. I'll try some more correct variations in any case.
The image isn't cropped. I see your point about the pole, though I'm not sure I feel a similar impact on the flow. I'm curious to hear what other people think about it.
Thanks again for the comments!
Given that the whole scene is blueish, I expect to see cool shadows, while yours are hot? If you go for brightness, give me a harsh contrast of warm light and cool shadow! However, in your lightning, with light directly above the camera, it will be hard to achieve what you want, without getting that flat flash look, where all you get is washed out light without attractive shadows. As it is now, creating darks through her hair is not going to work, as the hair will be as brightly lit as the face.
You may want to reconsider the value design, for instance try a darker background?
This is what I would go for, to pump up the brightness.
Double check her eyes: they seem to be different.
Grinnikend door het leven...
Oooo...paintovers! Can I play?
I think if it were me and I wanted to give the impression of *blazing* sun, I'd do it with warm versus cool rather than bright versus dark. I'd keep the whole thing relatively high in value, with cool shadows and warm lit areas.
What you do about local color (the fact her dress and flag are blue) I don't know. But as it stands, it looks awfully cold for a sunny day.
I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
The lighting in the initial piece actually looks pretty good to my eye...but if you want to make it feel "brighter," a good place to start would be using lighter tones in the really-dark areas, i.e., the form shadows on her body and her hair.
The thing that leaps out at me, though, is her hair, which sort of suggests a flat form in the shape of a map of Switzerland. Human hair clusters into individual locks, which have 3D form--you'd do well to study some photos. (Paintover attached below...if it looks a bit Medusa-esque and over-contrasty in comparison to the rest of the image, at least it will hopefully get my point across.)