Hi there, so cool to be part of the Level Up thing now it's great! I know I might not have the skills yet to really get these studies right but I needed something to get me going. I've been drawing/painting and taking it serious since 2 1/2 months now but after I improved a little bit I fell in a hole.. I think to have the assignments now will help me to keep painting all day long without to much doubt of 'making it' in the end.
So I picked a painting of Vasily Polenov for my first master study and spent one hour on the study.
I liked the Rhythms of the dark grass on the ground and how it's showing the environments character.
The variety is in the stones, there is repitition with the cloumns, the primary emphasis is on the ancient building and on the right side of the painting we have lots of economy going on, there is pretty much no detail there. After studying it I was only missing the balance in this piece... it's very unsymmetrical and there is architecture and rocks on the left but not much on the left side of the painting to balance this out.
Ok here comes study number 2, Frank Frazetta! One of my all time favorites, love this one but I didn't think of it as so difficult to study. I was actually pretty happy with it when I was done.
What I like about it is the awesome contrast of high detail in the center of the piece/focal area/emphasis and the simplicity of the background (pretty much just grey). The mountains behind his head are so well placed, the head which is emphasis 1 anyways gets the highest contrast and pops out from the background even more.
To get the contrast of detail against no detail I spent more time on it than an hour and there are still so many things that I could have done better but whatever gotta keep on moving forward, I learned so much from this study already.
The third study, Thomas Cole. I studied him because he really knew how to create depth in a painting, his values are great and he is able to show an incredible amount of detail without putting to much of it everywhere (he painted single trees on the far mountain on the right side of the painting or the ruins in the background are still quite detailed for example).
He uses repitition of columns and trees to show the depth of the painting but painting them in a great variety (different trees, more or less destroyed columns). He has an overall theme in the painting which would be the break-up of these human buildings I guess, nature is returning and growing all over the place now and so on and I would like to create paintings that are like this, having a mood, some kind of story and theme.
I noticed that he uses two light sources in this painting and I've never seen it before when looking at it. I always thought it's a small setting sun in the back but it should be the moon with the sun as a strong light source behind the viewer's position. It's a nice effect to have the light source behind us because Cole can show lots of details on the ruins that way and still balance the composition of the sky by putting in the moon and having some reflections of it on the water which makes those so much more interesting. Awesome painting and so much to learn from! :o
Oh and the time was about 1 1/2 hours, wanted to keep it within an hour but there were too many mistakes so I worked a bit more on it.
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.
Thank you so much Jason for your feedback!
I tried to implement what you said as much as possible and really wanted to push it this time and get the values to be as close as I could get them. I have to give up the one-hour-limit for it because I'm just not able to match them this fast yet but I guess when learning and building up skills time doesn't really matter that much.. that's what I hope at least!
The fourth study I did was a painting from N.C. Wyeth and I've never heard of him before but he was suggested as someone to study from. I was amazed by this painting of him and how well it's composed. I'm fascinated by clouds anyways so this was just great for me, lots of repitition but I noticed the amount of variety is just incredible, every cloud is painted differently! I also noticed he plays with economy and detail around, I thought you always have to draw most detail where the emphasis is at, but having the extremely white and and the dark cloud as first and second emphasis that's also where the painting is simplest.
Anyways lots of cool things going on with this one! To try out something new I also worked on 1 layer only the whole time, it got very complicated at some point but in the end I liked it, much less confusion
The fifth study is an Arnold Böcklin painting that I just liked from the first moment I looked at it. The island has this mystery feeling about it and in the past I wondered how he did it but studying it it was fairly simple to find out, there is a lot of simplicity in the middle, it's very dark although there should be light hitting the middle of the island, the viewer doesn't really know what's going on and the darkness is kinda spreading out from the middle of the island.. that's at least how I kinda see it right now I struggled to get the stone texture into my painting, the walls look quite simple at first but they're actually pretty detailed. The boat brings some movement into the painting and the first thing the viewer sees is the guy in white who's pretty mysterious and about to enter the mysterious island. I hope I can get achieve this kind of mood in my future paintings !
It's kinda sad, already running out of master paintings that I like/know.. never really got into this since I'm like less than 3 months into drawing/painting/art at all
So I began to pick some random stuff, William Merrit Chase and James Gurney for now, I know Gurney isn't really an old master but I guess he has mastered values and light anyways so I thought I'd be cool to study this.
Set the time frame to one hour this time to see what I'm able to do in that time, also one layer, one brush.
I found it pretty hard to imitate W.N. Chases' simple areas around the boat and used one of those traditional brushes in photoshop which like react to your pen position, it was a real struggle, in the end I didn't get the values nor the position of the things on the canvas right on this one so maybe I should practice more under time pressure?! Didn't get much more out of this sadly.
I was excited to study Gurney and it was much easier for me to study him for some reason. Didn't get to the sky anymore and most of the time went into the buildings in the midground and trying to match the values there although some of em are still very wrong... it's always easier to tell afterwards then when focused on the painting.
So my thought about the studies are that they are very different from each other but both artists are using very dark values to lead the eye to the emphasis of the painting. Both leave just enough detail in the painting so the eye rests on it for a while and keeps discovering new things but they also put a lot of simplicity into their work so you don't get overwhelmed with detail.
Gurney also puts lots of movement into his painting with the flying dinosaur and the waterfall, clouds that are probably moving too. He's telling the story of the character flying through the environment pretty fast. The other painting has almost no movement in it, the boat isn't moving, the water is kinda quiet and there is nothing going on in the environment. This emphasizes the action of the character in the boat, she's just sitting there probably in deep thought about something.
So the whole image and composition is used to present the mood the character is in at least that's what I'm getting out of it. I really like this about both images, they look like paintings but when focusing on them for a while you start to figure out much more about them and I'd love my future paintings to be like that.
Here we go again, another day another study, John Singer Sargent this time, kind of an unusual painting to study for a composition assignment I'm sure but I guess there is composition to everything you do if it's a sketch, a landscape, a character or just like in this one pretty much 'only' a portrait. I saw this painting and thought he did a pretty good job with his compostition and I can't even describe why it's good.. I just thought I'd be nice to study to be honest but know I'd also say the piece has a nice balance to it, he didn't put the face in the center although it's pretty central, she looks away from the light, the light in general is interesting, the background is kept super simple to focus the eye on the face, the hair has a sweet rythm to it and keeps the eye on the painting because of some indication of details. Again one hour one layer one brush I really like to work this way now.
I don't know what went wrong with this study, it was supposed to be a 1 hour study but it was bad so I continued a little bit but wanted to finished too quick and that's the result.. anyways Edgar Delas for study number nine!
These are getting progressively better with each study you are doing. Inspiring to see that happening. You can continue to push for even more accuracy and you need to. You are sooo close to nailing these.
You are getting about 90 percent there with the three most important things...shapes, values and edges. are you flipping your images horizontally and vertically every minute or so to check accuracy? If so...how often? To get these further the simplest solution is to install a quality control pass at the end of the middle point of your painting process and again at the end prior to uploading.
The qc pass should cover the following three concepts and you should focus on being as careful as you can when checking quality.
You are so close...and if you take that next step and really double down on double checking and triple checking these areas you will find that you see a big boost in quality. The little details are far less important than the big shapes, big values, and major edge variations when doing the quicker studies. You should be able to work this into your process now and if you do, the results will be there for the taking.
Hi I'm back here haha god it's been 3 days gotta work more on those studies!
First of all thank you so much Jason for taking time out of your probably super busy day to write comments here!
You actually reminded me of flipping the canvas, I never did that in the studies I posted here and uh now that I tried it out it helps so much to see mistakes!
Quality control is a very good suggestion as well, especially being like at the mid point of the painting to correct the basic shapes, really check on their positioning and all that so that helped me a lot to get the studies more accurate this time ( I think ).
To get to the studies, the first one is of Caspar David Friedrich and that painting just really spoke to me haha I don't know I just think everything is cool about it, the water, the reflections, the sky, the story that he's telling, the details on the boats, I just liked it a lot and I think it's a nice balanced piece.
It took around 9 hours to finish, in the end I still saw some minor mistakes but wasn't really able to fix them properly because I flattened some layers I used and so on so fixing a small mistakes or correcting a shape took a really long time. I also focused more on the boats ( -> emphasis ) and less on the sky and water and I think that's very obvious.
I always struggle with skies because I loose orientation if that makes sense.. there are just clouds but no objects where I could make measurements with or get the relationships right, I used the ships to do that and still.
I always flipped the canvas after I did a few details so that helped me to see wrong values or even wrong realtionships early enough to change them that was great!
Study number 11 is another Frazetta study, I don't know I'm just a fan of his compositions and style I think, compositionwise it's pretty simple, dark - light contrast to show emphasis, trees and plants that point in direction, details to keep the eye on the page, almost a black frame around the whole painting.
I had a 3 hour time frame for this study and told myself it had to be done in that time so I tried to push through, began without a sketch just blocking in values and got lost in some details, anatomy isn't really good, some details on the sides were just added in the last minutes but all in all I'm ok with this one. I didn't flip the canvas that often but realized that after I was done.. I have to put a shortkey for it and remember to do it every 5 minutes or so!
The ships study is awesome. Great job. You are on the right path for sure.
Your shapes and values are coming along well. Be sure that you are keeping a close eye on your edges. Note where the sharpest sharpest sharps and softest soft edges are and use them as guideposts/landmarks for the rests of the edges in the image. Edges are important to space, form, and focal areas, so getting those in there will help the piece a lot. Once you do, you will see quality improve a lot. Keep up the great work. -jm
Alright after being on the road for a while it's good to be back and upload some master studies and work on my skills some more!
Thanks for you comment first of all Jason, edges are definitely something I never really thought of while studying and will do from now on hopefully, so many things to remember and think about it's mindblowing, but I guess practice will get me there in the end.
First study, Feuerbach and about 13 - 14 hours.. nothing to say haha I just wasn't adding anything good to this piece, I tried to get the background right but I the original was so vague there so I just kinda skipped that part.. I'm also not satisfied with the skin but I don't know, I'd love to get feedback on that one!
Second study, I did that a while ago of John Berkey.. kinda love that guy but just one hour quickly putting values down, without sketching and all that..
Just goes on like that from here, quick studies, one hour timeframe each, trying to work on the whole study and not on details at all..
I think I learned from every single one of them but I'd really love to be able to get more done in an hour so I'm gonna keep doing those and see how it goes!