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    Black Spot - Composition 1.1

    Well here goes. I thought it was time I knuckled down and did some more structured work. On this picture I noticed the rhythm of the people in the background especially the dresses, which also have variety. Emphasis is placed on the two main figures; the girl is isolated by contrast, being pale against a dark background, and the man by being outlined by his jacket. Balance is found by the man being larger as opposed to the girl who has more people behind here. Those people also point to her like an arrow. Economy is found in the background where not much detail is found and the expanse of the dance floor.

    I'll be doing all these traditionally as that's what where I want to go. Couldn't get the pencil dark enough in some areas to give the correct contrast. The picture (her First Dance by Sir William Quiller Orchardson) I enjoy for its composition and tension between the two characters. His gesture is wonderful and I didn't quite capture that. I printed it out and scanned it along with my drawing, and it is slightly smaller than shown on my screen. One hour.

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    rescan as it doesn't look right

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    Last edited by Black Spot; July 16th, 2014 at 03:20 PM.


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  3. #2
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    Pencil wasn't making it work, so I added ink as well. Heads are miles too big and spent too too long polishing a turd. Sort of an inverted triangle composition. Isolation by contrast on the female figure with accents of light elsewhere to balance the image. A bit bigger than yesterday's one.

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    Hey Spot - good to see you in here. Looks like the structure of these exercises is helping people improve - very quickly in many cases. I know I'm benefitting from the structure it is providing, I bet you will too. It's tricky with scans/photos to get a real sense of the values, but your pieces look to be a little too contrasty, perhaps? Looking forward to seeing more!

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    Yeah, I'm having problems in getting a good scan of the pencil as the darks don't really show. So I brought this one into the computer to correct it. Composition-wise it's a portrait. Light against dark, unfussy background so as not to distract.

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    Then I overlaid them to make an animated gif to show all the errors.

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    Nice start bs. You are doing great but we must get you double and triple checking your shapes even more, before you do any rendering. You are getting some shape distortion early that we need to resolve right away. Due to this, you rendered his eyes too low, in the recent painting, for example. No sense rendering if it is in the wrong place. that is just asking for trouble and pain. You have enough pain. Don't go and give yourself more pain.

    a. check your angles and even look at them as if it were hands on a clock...what time is that angle? so to speak.
    b. look at shapes abstractly like, his face is shaped like a capital U that widens at the top and has a dent in the left side...or
    c. beware going too contrasting or too dark. But be less concerned about value and rendering if you have not quadruple quintuple checked your shapes.

    Til you get those shapes right and dead on you will have to avoid the temptation to begin rendering. You can do that.

    JM

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  9. #6
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    Nice start Black and great to see some traditional stuff here!

    Definately slow down and double and triple shapes at first. Spend an extra 10 minutes blocking in the shapes and getting everything in the right place. I you get that part down, the rest is a cakewalk (well not really, but I'm exaggerating to get my point across)

    Also doing this will make sure you catch those mistakes early instead of later when it's nigh impossible to fix. I've spent too long polishing my share of turds aswell.

    Now I know this is harder to do with traditional media, but flipping the canvas seriously works. If you have a light table use that, if not hold your paper towards a light source or something. It helps. Alot.

    I can see scanning without messing up values could be a challenge, but sadly I have no advice in that regard.

    Keep it up! And remember, patience, especially in those crucial first steps - you'll love yourself for it later

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    Don't think I haven't been working. Correcting my errors is taking a lot of time.

    A triangle composition with loads of variety in the pattern. The dark background emphasises the focus on the face and chest. Acrylic on canvas board.

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    This is one I started before in oils, but I found it hard to correct errors, which is why I changed to acrylics.

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    I thought I'd try something a bit looser in style to stop me getting bogged down with detail. I really like the composition by Harvey Dunn. The variations of white gives it space an an appearance of economy, punctuated with areas of dark like the portholes, the bannister and the chair arms and legs. The main focus is the doorway where the action is taking place and here the contrasts move from dark to light from the door jam across the figures. Acrylic on canvas board.


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    Noticed I keep swapping the original from left to right and back on the last few posts, but I think it's pretty obvious which is mine.
    Last edited by Black Spot; August 9th, 2014 at 08:35 AM.

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    These are quite nice and drawn well. The biggest issue I am seeing is with your value accuracy. You tend to get your levels off a little bit, and I think it is just a matter of comparing both while relaxing your eyes so you can see them both at the same time in peripheral vision. Watch those value gradients too...which is something I have seen as a challenge in your work for a while. Transitions are key to pulling off representational works and that just comes down to double checking things and backing away to see if the values are proper.

    Keep up the great work. Nice choices for images as well.


    jm

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  17. #12
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    btw...you changed the perspective on the floor a bit in the most recent. watch those shape map outs early...triple check!!!

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  19. #13
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    Thanks. I started on the Colour and Light to help me with the values.

    Central figure in a diagonal composition. I thought it this would be light that it actually was - doh! I'm still finding it hard to take a photo that matches the original closely.

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    This looks fantastic! Perhaps you can do a level adjustment on the picture in photoshop making it closer to your original before uploading?

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  22. #15
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    I tried another photo and worked on it more on the computer. It's closer. Shows the difference on the rock chicken at the bottom, but I think I nailed the little spaceman asking for an autograph at her feet. Slightly worried about the dragon peeking out of the tree at the back if she ever makes it past those crocodiles.

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    Now I'm really curious what you see in other paintings, too.

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    Back to charcoal so I can't go over the top on the details. Emphasis is on the central figure by using a darker background (economy) and framing her upper body with her arms. Interest on the pattern on her skirt with variety due to the drapery. The transparent material of her shirt gives her a soft edge which hardens where the light falls on her shoulders and the cloth is more dense. On the greyscale image her skirt edge is almost lost in the shadow.

    I drew her chin too short and she looks a lot more serious than she should.

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    BS these are realllllly good! My only constructive crit is the latest study and the paper choice..perhaps a rives bfk or arches would avoid the texture coming through and distracting the eye. Not that you can't find reasons to use that paper...juts question its use on such a soft atmospheric piece. With that said..the zorn piece is fabulous. These are bringing your skills up quickly. I look forward to where you are going with this stuff...and am very proud of you for tackling your learning as much as you have been.


    jm

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  28. #19
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    Thanks. I sort of got bored by the time I got to the bottom right of the picture. The focus is on his face and his shoulder exposed by letting his clothes fall off. The strong lighting casts a dark shadow over most of the image making the odd highlight on the tankard and bread (?) in his hand balancing the image. Economy is found in background. Repetition is found on the downward slope of the feather in his cap.

    Technically I found it hard to retain the highlights as the drawing is only 8.5" by 7", but I'm still learning how to push the stuff around. I think I'm going to have work bigger.

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    These are looking great. Keep pushing for more accurate values. You sometimes get a little soft or a bit murky (like the hand on the latest piece). Just buckle down on that and don't settle for almost. Easier said...but I trust you can do it...and be consistent with it.

    j

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  31. #21
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    Work has sort of left me drained for a couple of weeks, but I'm back up and running.


    The Painted Bridge, by Sir William Russell Flint


    I think is an absolutely gorgeous picture. Most of the focus is in the top half of the image, where the figures' heads and arms form a circle, and are above the bridge which almost cuts the image in two. Also the main dark areas are to the right, balanced by the light (economy) on the left. Repetition, with variation can be found in the fall of the drapery, helping to draw the eye to the main focus.


    I used coloured paper as that is what I use when I go life drawing and am more comfortable with it, I hope that's okay. Charcoal and white Conte crayon. I didn't go into detail with the leaves or the ground covering, as the original didn't either, but not that extent.

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    Hi Black Spot,
    overall it reads very well as a whole. I like that you used the blue paper because it shows the transparency of the drapery more clearly however I think it also might have hindered your study because with tone paper we use the tone for midtones but in reference to your study sometimes you are allowing the tone paper to replace areas that are in shadow (presumably because visually the blue paper is dark). Also it seems like the light/shadow patterns are becoming your main focus and your mark making is based on that and not the 3 dimensional forms that are causing the light/shadow to occur. So... I'm gonna cover the study from the top and work my way down and hopefully this helps you make sense of things that I'm seeing.

    Top figure - what I was saying in regards to not seeing 3-dimensionality is being shown in the top figures head. In the master copy it is clear that the figure's head is turning away from us because of the wedge shaped shadow under her chin. Imagine looking up at the underside of a cube, we should see that bottom plane but in yours that plane doesn't exist resulting in a profile view and a flat feeling. In the master copy her facial features feel like they are wrapping around her head, the eye socket in particular. In your study the eye socket (eyebrow ridge in particular) doesn't exist and runs straight into the bridge of the nose. The neck feels too thick/masculine which i think is because you made your hair shape to big, so you just connected the 2. In your study alot of shadow information is missing because you tried to let the blue paper do the work. The shadow on the underside of her extended arm and armpit should be alot darker and the cast shadow from the breast should be darker as well. Regarding the breasts you'll see that there is a bit of 'hang' in the master copy as it goes from a straight line angle (connection of pectoral muscle to underneath the shoulder) but your study is missing this straight line so it looks like the breast is connected to the shoulder. The plane change / value change in the master copy is important because it shows what is being lit (her chest) and what isn't the form shadow side of her right arm. In fact your study's shoulder has so much light it makes the figure feel flat, like the arm and chest are one plane. Try and think of major limbs/body parts as basic shapes and light them accordingly ie arm is a cylinder, chest is a rectangular prism, etc. Also watch the spacing between the chin and the shoulder as yours are almost touching- this would be alleviated by treating the head like a 3-d object so we are looking up at the underside of her chin, as in the master copy. In the seated figure try and look more carefully at the edges in the drapery in particular the hard edges of the light folds where here knee is. The fabric is pulling tight because her knee is sticking out so the folds are much harder and in the light. In your study you've diffused this light and lost the tension/crispness in the folds. Also try and use value to describe the fingers as a mass instead of drawing lines for fingers in her right hand.

    reclining figure- main thing is missing shadows. The significant ones are in the space between her calf and bottom of her thigh, on her thigh, cast shadow from drapery onto her leg (shows its on top), and in her face- the form shadows are what indicate the facial features but in your study these read very flat like a Picasso painting. And like the top figure we are unable to see the underside of her chin which takes away the 3 dimensionality for us. In the top figure the underside of the chin is in shadow but here the underside of the chin is in light. Take a look and see if you can see what I mean. Try and spend more time in the drawing stage to nail your proportions as the right arm is too long and I think this is what skewed the scale of the torso in your top figure. I love the transparency of the drapery even though it might not be that transparent in the master copy, just try and mass some of the values a bit more- think shapes.

    standing figure - this one feels the most successful. good job. but theres still work to be done haha. Watch for the left side of the face (our left) it is a tad too wide- its missing the recess that occurs where the cheekbone goes back and into the eye socket. hopefully you can see what I'm talking about in the master copy. You will understand this better when you do the skull drawing exercise. Her neck/back are completely facing away
    from the light so be sure to clearly show the shadows there (once again, you have to do the work, not the tone paper). Her left arm in particular is missing the core shadow happening as the form of the shoulder/arm is turning away from the light source. The drapery looks pretty good but be more confident with the edge variation- hard edges vs soft edges. Be sure to look for where the body is underneath the fabric and use that to help understand the values. You'll notice in the master copy the right side of her drapery is slightly darker than the left side because her leg is receding behind the left leg. Also use the body to determine the shape of the drapery- you'll notice a compression fold occurring where her right leg is bent and the drapery wraps around her calf. In your study this compression fold is missing and so you can't get the wrap around of the drapery right because the figure's gesture isn't right.

    Overall I think you great and i admire that you are ambitious enough to be using traditional media. My biggest advice is for you to spend more time in the drawing phase to really nail proportions and think geometrically so you can use light and shadow to indicate the different plane changes that occur. Doing the skull sketches should help you greatly. Also, if you use tone paper again remember that you are responsible for indicating form shadows, not the tone. If it helps, when you think you are absolutely finished, look over it one more time and compare to the original to make sure you have dark enough form shadows to describe the figure/drapery etc accurately and are true to the master copy.

    I hope I did not come across too stern or aggressive. I look forward to seeing more traditional pieces from you and hope you found this critique useful.

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  34. #23
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    I think this one is right on track. The only thing I see that sticks out, is that you could have gone darker in the values of the leaves at top right. . . in the shadow areas.

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  36. #24
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    Wow, Norm, that's a lot of detailed crit, and I'd agree with pretty much everything you wrote. I use the blue paper to take the middle tone instead of starting with a stark white sheet of paper; I still have to nail those exact values. The size I'm working is about 7" x 11" which doesn't give me a huge amount of space for details, and that may account for a number of points you brought up. I was more concerned with giving the image the same overall fell and value. I have had the tendency to go in for the detail miles too soon, so limiting myself on purpose has been a goal. I will take on board your comments about form, or lack of it, as that is important in any format.

    Grumpy - you're right.

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    I don't think I did this Paul Chabas painting justice. The painting is made up of different colours, but with very similar values, which unites the picture as a whole. The main focus is on the girl and her hair is the darkest spot in the entire image. Repetition can be found in the wave of the water and the ripples around her legs. The lack of tonal variety gives the background a sense of serenity by its economy. The figure, being almost central, with a slightly pensive pose, divides the image giving balance. The original image is the centre one. Again this was drawn on blue paper (left image) and grey-scaled (right)

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    'Black Spot' by NC Wyeth. This image is in total contrast, with sharp delineation between dark and light. The four men each form a triangle individually and together, giving the image balance. Economy is found in the background throwing the figures into relief. Variety is found in the various poses of the men and the sharp bursts of light. The main focus is on the knife cutting into the bible on the floor and out focus is brought there by the triangular arrangement. Again this was drawn on blue paper (left image) and grey-scaled (right).

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    Henrietta Carpenter by Margaret Sarah Carpenter. I choose this image as I thought is was sweet with soft features, although the lighting is fairly strong. The focus is on the face with the dress and shawl roughly painted in. The high contrast of the lighting lends contrast between most of her face and neck to her apparel and background. The central composition lends balance to the whole. The alluded detail in her shawl give texture as opposed to the sitter's flawless complexion – variety and rhythm.


    I had a few drawing problems with this one. The soft jaw, was troublesome as she swung from too sharp to bloated. I also moved the nose about 3 times.

    Again this was drawn on blue paper (left image) and grey-scaled (right)


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    The depth is not there yet, there's not enough contrast to separate her from the background.For example, look at her shoulders, the values looks very similar with the background.Your dark values look very greyish to me. If you look at the reference, this artist uses about 20%~ 100% value range to make the painting 'pop'.

    Sry i wish my english is good enough so i can communicate better. Hopefully Jason will correct me if i'm wrong.
    Last edited by Rusty87; November 9th, 2014 at 05:04 AM.

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  41. #28
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    I'm not the greatest photographer, and the lighting I use has made some of the darks a bit lighter. I've tried to correct it on the computer, but it just looked worse. I'm now working with a different charcoal that might show up better as my next one has loads of dark areas in it. We'll see. And your English is fine

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    Rembrandt-Portrait of a man cutting a pen. A triangular composition with the focus on the gentleman's face. The strong contrast of light & dark help with this. A secondary focus is the hands, and third the letter on the table. The figure is seated left of centre with the hands and letter balancing the face. There is plenty of variety in the darks, some barely discernible at first glance.


    Again I'm having a problem it bringing out the darks in my photo. If I up the contrasts etc, the lights become too strong, and I lose the shifts of darks like the desk and its side. I think I'll do a lighter one next.

    <a href=Black Spot - Composition 1.1" title="Black Spot - Composition 1.1" />
    Attached Images Attached Images  

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    Webcam shot unadjusted

    <a href=Black Spot - Composition 1.1" title="Black Spot - Composition 1.1" />

    Black Spot - Composition 1.1
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