Greetings Concept Art community! A few things about myself. I am a full time animator for a medical illustration company. I've been looking to brush up on my illustration skills and broaden my horizons. Feel free to be as brutal as possible, I would greatly appreciate any feedback.
These were all done in about an hour.

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John William Waterhouse - A Mermaid
So on my first study I think I totally missed the point of the assignment. I initially tried too hard to draw the mermaid instead of concentrating on the whole painting. In hindsight I think one of the reasons why the original painting is so successful is it's contrasting textures. There is so much texture in the background. You have these long vertical lines in the cliffs and short horizontal strokes in the ocean. There is all this nice texture and then on top of it he's placed this bright, softly painted mermaid. She really pops out nicely from the background.

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Rembrandt - Man with Golden Helmet
For my second attempt I picked a Rembrandt painting. High contrast, chiaroscuro. It is so much calmer compared to all the texture in A Mermaid. So much of the figure is loosely brushed in and suggested and most of the detail is reserved for the highlights on the helm and gorget. This time I made sure to work the whole painting before working on any of the details.

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John Singer Sargent, Elizabeth Winthrop Chanler
I love this painting. I've seen it quite a few times at the Smithsonian. This is a simple Triangular composition. The super contrasty Elizabeth in a black dress is counterbalanced by the two wall dealies. There is also a nice contrast in brush work. Most of the unimportant details are roughly brushed in, the dress looks like it was worked with a deep wet black paint and the skin is a thicker creamier layer of paint as opposed to what looks like scumbled paint on the walls in the background.