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Hello! I finally started with Level Up. My first trial here is from Velazques, titled “Adoration of the Magi”. I spent around 1 hour for this piece.
Since the whole story is about the birth of Jesus, the focus point is absolutely in baby Jesus and Maria. This piece is interesting. The viewers’ eyes are led from the baby to the three magis and after that to the sky behind. Joseph who is in the right side of Maria, though he doesn’t take major part in this painting, also adds balance and rhythm value in the painting. So, it has balance between left and right. This piece also doesn’t look boring because the magi are drawn differently in skin color, face shape, and age. The negative space on the top and bottom help viewers’ eyes to rest and focus.
My second try is "The Swing" by Fragonard. This is my personal favorite art history painting because of the calm yet sweet atmosphere it created. It's one adorable artwork
I see the whole piece as a graceful unity. The way the lighting is done, how the gown flips, how the lady swing and the tree on the background, they make a wonderful harmony. Though I'm not sure why Fragonard leaves many space in the upper part, my best guess (based on Jason Manley's vid) is it has something to do with economy and to create asymmetrical balance. This piece has a jaw-dropping variant details especially on the dress and leafs.
There's still so much to learn, especially I need to enhance my speed. Daily dose of this helps me a lot in terms of value, depth of field, and of course composition.
Last edited by springofsea; April 29th, 2014 at 09:19 PM.
you are already showing progress with your values. good work.
It would be good for me to share what i have told some of the others about shapes so you can get that on track as best you can. Here is what i had to say earlier...
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.
Keep up the good work.
Thanks Jason! I’ve tried what you suggested about mapping out and flipping image. It helps a lot to help me understanding more about object placement. I’ve always been curious why everytime I watched artists do painting tutorial on Youtube, they keep flipping their WIP. Now I understand why. It is useful to help seeing the same piece from different view so the painting process will be more accurate. Since this is the first time I tried it, it took me awhile to paint. Still 1 hour but I’m not really satisfied with the result. Gotta do better next time.
I do two Thomas Killigrew painting by two different artists : Shepard and Van Dyck.
My 3rd piece is Thomas Killigrew by William Shepard. The subject expression is interesting and the way his hand rests in head is unusual, different with the way common people usually do. This shows that Shepard is referring the subject as a unique person. This piece has a balance between top and bottom, and the objects Shepard put to balance are a portrait photo (top) and dog (bottom). I especially love the dog’s placement which is beneath the subject’s desk. It gives a little bit surprise to the viewer (including me) and it adds interesting touch to the whole picture. The drapery and clothes are painted in great detail to show the emphasized subject. The clothes’ color is white too, making it easier to emphasize.
My 4th piece is Thomas Killigrew painting by Van Dyck. Another pose of resting head in the left hand. Probably this was his habit back then. The painter emphasis on Killigrew by drawing him looking at the viewer. His eye contact with the painting viewer create certain emotion that he was the main character of the painting. There is contrast between the clothes and skin. To create balance, the background color behind Thomas is darker while the background of the other guy is lighter. This create value balance together with the characters’ hair color.
Note : So, I did a little bit of art research about Thomas Killigrew in the internet, wondered what makes him so special that 2 famous artists wanted to paint his image. After I read his biography, I was amused by his profile. He was –- according to Wikipedia -- an English dramatist and theatre manager. He was a witty, dissolute figure at the court of King Charles II of England. Wow. I imagine maybe if he lived right now, he could be the living figure of Willy Wonka. Witty and dissolute but a genius theatre manager working in the King’s court, and of course.. filthy rich.
I choose this piece by G. Caillebotte because it caught my eye with its daring composition. The subjects are placed far away in the left, making it different from normal painting composition. To create balance with the subject, dark colored trees and leafs are painted on the right. Good rhythm is shown through the subject placement and shining reflection in the water. I see repetition on the subjects : both are only shown by their back and doing the same activity, yet there is variety in their hair and hat style. The movement of the water creates harmony and calm atmosphere.
Someone gave me a good advice to pay attention more in painting the object, not just understanding the form/shape but as well 'breaking down' the objects into cubes/circles in my mind while painting.
Last edited by springofsea; May 4th, 2014 at 11:59 PM.
I really like how this one turns out. Yayy! I think I start to grab the point of this practice! Still rough here and there but I guess I’m making progress
“Artemisia” by Rembrandt. This painting is attractive because of its mysterious atmosphere. The main subject’s expression makes me curious of what is in her mind, and look at the dark corner behind! I thought I saw a ghost, and this little goosebump is also one reason why I chose this painting. I can see the rhythm between the main emphasis (the big lady), the second emphasis (her maid, probably) and the last emphasis (the dark man behind). The combination between the color contrast and economy space brings out the most of its mysterious feel.
nice job. you are about 95 percent there on your values. you can get even closer if you take a pass at it where you make final adjustments to all values.
I really want to see you focus on getting your shapes even more accurately done. Please slow down and triple and even quadruple check all your positive and negative shapes. Until you do it won't matter how perfect your values are, it will still have challenges to deal with. Let's get those shapes super accurately handled.
Keep up the hard work. Great to see how you are doing.
Last post by Jason advised me to start focusing on my shape. So I tried to work on it through this piece. Take me hours to get this done because I am not used to make a neat object in short period of time. It turns out to be not as difficult as what I’ve thought; in fact it’s enjoyable to see that the object is drawn in correct proportion.
In this painting, I can see a contrast direction between the woman and the background. The woman (Biblis) is praying to the left while her background (trees’ shadow and grass) are facing right. I think this is a creative way to create balance. To emphasize Biblis, the background is painted darker and Biblis’ skin is painted fairer. Biblis is also painted with more details, especially her skin lighting value. Her pose of praying is unusual yet graceful, making this painting unique.
Batsheba’s expression is deep. I can see sadness through her eyes. In this piece, the painter visualizing lust by directing the source of light toward Batsheba’s body (especially her breast). There’s a rhythm created between the pose of head, hands and the way she tilted her body. I still spent too much time for this one. I guess this is around 8 hours or so.
Anyway my wacom pen doesn’t work properly, the pen pressure is randomly missing and appearing by itself. This drives me crazy, really not convenient for painting :/
Big improvement since the first one Spring, great job. The last one is just a little lighter in value and perhaps would benefit from a little texture over the skin to acheive that slight grainy look of the original. Keep it up
I agree Bri. Nice work. Your latest is a bit more contrasting in value than the original and i think that can be adjusted by tweaking the levels a bit. try to capture that same atmosphere. you did the same over contrasting decisions in the bouguereau. the fact that you are so close, this issue is minor. The key is looking at both images at the same time in your peripheral. have you ever people watched where you are looking out into space but really paying attention to someone in your peripheral vision? it's kind of like that. when you do that, let your eyes rest and take in both images at the same time. weight the images together that way. The answers will be found.
Keep up the very good work!
Here is my Frazetta’s study of “A Fighting Man of Mars”. This piece is really complicated compared to my previous chosen paintings. I chose this piece to help me understand more about the difference between male and female figure. This piece allows me to draw both gender which is an advantage for me to learn. Frazetta had a keen eye for anatomy details. It can be seen through the value details on the body (especially the abs). There’s a harmony in the costume design. The costume’s design is very simple, it only covers vital areas of the body, and they both wear helmet with thin horns.
The placement of the 2 moons and 2 human figures make the whole painting looks balanced.
I gave rough texture a little bit to make this piece doesn’t look flat and thus has an artistic feeling like the original piece.
I'm aware that the woman looks a lit bit stretched though.
So far I think this is my most favorite piece from my study on composition 1.1
“Stars” by Maxfield Parrish. Symmetrical balance with more negative space on the upside part to enhance the feeling of “higher sky”. Economy and balance plays important part in this piece, can be seen through the silver lining of the sea that “cuts” equally between half of the female stomach and leg. The subject and rocks beneath her are drawn in details because they are the focus point of the painting.
Very good. Keep a close eye on those values. the neck on the most recent is a little lighter for example. I think it's a very good study though. shapes wise, I think the only area really standing out to me is in the handling of the face. The shapes are varied just a little bit in that area.
Overall these are coming along great. Keep it up!!!
Been awhile since my last posting.
What I like from this piece is the subject, who is an African, quite different from normal painting subjects (which are usually European people). His dark skin color is an advantage because it creates interesting contrast in value. In terms of balance, I think this piece is quite balanced with the head in the centre of the painting. There is balance too between the negative and positive space in which I think the painter doesn’t want to make the subject too large so the subject won’t look too intimidating / too small so the subject won’t look unimportant. Doing this painting is a benefit for me since I want to learn more about drawing people from many races and cultures.
I’m practicing depth of field and perspective from this piece. The lead focus is the big canvas in the centre (shown by the value contrast between the lighter value on the wall and darker value on canvas). After that, the eye is led to the artist, might be Rembrandt himself, on the left side. Repetition of the wood pattern and texture can be seen through the canvas stand, floor, table, and door. Rembrandt draws the subject’s pose well that it can capture the ‘thinking’ feel.
The value contrast shows that the main focus is in the centre, which is the horse and Bonaparte. Of course the economy principle can be seen through the empty valley space around Bonaparte.
I can see movement in this painting. All of the subjects and objects movement are pointing to the left, for example : the horse pose, the horse hair movement, Bonaparte’s hand and robe. The background, which is the valley, is descending from up left to down right, following the horse body curve. To create movement balance, the sky and cloud is descending from up right to down left, opposite direction of the valley.
really nice improvement happening. the latest piece looks great. the portrait you have turned his torso a little toward the viewer and could be about 5 percent closer on values. the rembrandt values could be closer in the background as well. If you can get your values double checked and even triple checked prior to uploading I think that will be resolved. Don't settle for 99 percent there. You are far too talented to do that.
Keep up the great work.
There is a rhythm in this piece : from the eyes, nose, mouth and to the hands of the subject. The rhythm helps creating the feeling of motion. This artwork seems like ‘moving’ to the right to the direction where the subject’s looking at. There is a repetition of the clothes’ vertical line pattern.
Though this is just a portrait painting, the expression of the subject is amusing, making it the main emphasis of the whole piece. This artwork has an interesting brush stroke style which brings out unity as a whole. Economy area can be seen on the negative space around the head. It’s fun to see how the painter gives variety of value in each of his brush strokes.
There is a clear value contrast between the focus figure and the environment around him. The figure has the darkest contrast among all else. Then, the value goes lighter down to the cart, and lighter on the polar bear. This value tone continuity, combined with the subjects’ placement create one unity that leads the viewers’ eyes from top left diagonally going to the right bottom. The placement of the shining sword and the cloud is also to emphasize the value contrast.
I like how Frazetta is using polar bears (which is uncommon animals rather than snow dogs) to pull the sleigh. The polar bears add the fantasy twist in the artwork.
“Our Banner in the Sky” is a conceptual painting from Frederic Edwin Church (a well-known landscape painter) which was drawn during the Civil War. When I knew that the branch and the sky (together with the stars) is forming an image of American flag, I am overwhelmed. I am amazed by his awesome way in visualizing American flag through the sky. The flag here is not really obvious because it’s in black and white, but with color, I can see clearly that the sky = America flag. Here I attached the color version as well.
The focus point is definitely in the branch and flow of the clouds. To make sure the ‘flag’ gets the attention, the painter draw the ‘flag’ area with lighter value and sky around him in darker tone. The painting’s rhythm can be seen through the flow of the clouds. Economy area is definitely on the land and sky around the ‘flag’.
I like this piece by Lorusso due to the retro feels it has. I tried to be more analytical and descriptive upon the explanation of this artwork, so here I attached my studies on the image. Lorusso used the principal of 3x3 composition for this one, can be seen through the green lines I created for the composition 3x3. The blocked transparent green = the focus point which are the musicians
There is harmony too in this piece, can be seen from the 2nd study image : the red lines have the same angle and direction, so do the yellow lines. This helps creating rhythm. The position between the 2 heads and the 2 lamps are also similar except they are mirrored. Probably this is used to create balance. Economy can be clearly seen through the black space of the piano and empty background.
Excellent observations. Crazy that I have never seen that banner piece. Beautifully conceptual for the time. Surprised to see that actually.
A few bits, critique wise, would be...
a. The face of the female portrait is slightly enlarged in yours, leading to a slightly different feeling in the piece. Keep an eye on your shapes.
b. The Frazetta has a bit more contrast on the bears especially, and a rather strong light source hitting them so that their forms are defined. It helps the piece pop, visually.
c. the contrast in the flag piece is a bit stronger in yours, so watch your levels and values there too.
d. lastly, on the most recent image your edges could get closer, soft and sharp wise, check the horn for example. Yours stands out more, in terms of silhouette.
You are soooo close. 95 percent there. Just keep pushing for more accurate shape, value and edge in this next round and I think you will see a big improvement.
Ice everywhere. Certainly the image tells that the ship hits the iceberg and the crews are trying to get on boat. The narrative story can be seen through the composition and object placement.
1. There’s a rhythm that leads the audience eyes from the iceberg in the middle >> broken ship >> guys below >> the passing ship with smoke.
2. This rhythm can be vividly seen because of the contrast value between emphasized objects and the background (ex : the ship is deep black, and the iceberg behind it is white).
3. I can see a continuity / movement in this painting from the direction where the objects are heading. Both ships and the iceberg are heading toward the light source which is on the right.
4. This painting looks more appealing because of the variety in the ice shapes. I remember my experience in drawing a forest and my friend critiqued me for having no variety on the trees. Definitely variety is really important especially for environment painting.
5. Not just variety, there are repetition too in this painting which helps all the objects element to be in one unity. The repetition can be seen through the iceberg textures and ships’ model.
6. Economy theory is applied on the sky. Cloudless sky helps the audience eyes to rest while exploring the complicated ice lands below.
7. I was wondering why Bradford drew another small ship with smoke on the right until I realized that its purpose is to balance the whole thing. Without the small ship, the painting will look heavily drawn on the left part and empty on the right part.
8. Another thing I observe is the light source from the right. Probably it was the visual symbol of hope.
Another beautiful piece by Van Dyck. As another common portrait, the subject is drawn half-body in the centre of the canvas to emphasize the apostle’s expression. The light source comes from top right, making the value in the facial area and neck become lighter. The lighter value symbolizes hope. Economy theory is applied in the dark background. There’s a rhythm from the face to the hand. The whole piece is united because of the same curves’ style drawn by Van Dyck : from the hair, the apostle facial shape, the clothes, and the hand. This curves’ style is the thing that makes this piece differs from other artists’ portraits.
Looking really good--especially the one just prior to the latest. Really good work there. The most recent would benefit from getting the full value range as the original. You are very close, so good work, but you can get closer. Watch for that. Outside that you are on the right track. Just keep them coming.
Keep it up!
Here's my 20th piece!
I chose this one because the subject’s outfit grab my attention. I thought “Hey, maybe I can try painting fabric!” -- since my previous composition 1.1 study were about environment and portrait, which had not much of fabric study. So, I drew and realized that painting outfit is not that easy, especially in blending the lighting with the texture. I didn’t know how long this guy stood posing like that while Van Dyck was painting him, but certainly Van Dyck had a madly great skill because he could paint the fabric realistically accurate. Awesome artist dude is awesome indeed.
The focus point of this piece is the torso and the face, can be seen from the lightest value on those part. The drapery on the background was in a purpose to give more rhythm, as well to help make the background less empty. The drapery also helped to create economy space around the head, which is the focus point (and every focus point needs economy space, right?). There’s also variety in the fabric’s pattern, which make it more interesting.
Fabulous job. Please continue on through the next assignments and keep up the great work. Very good work here.