My name is Elisabeth and I just joined Level Up, hoping to improve my digital painting skills! Here is my first composition study, a painting by the suiss/danish painter Bertha Wegmann (http://www.artnet.com/artists/bertha...uction-results). It took me about 3, 5 hours in Photoshop and I struggled a lot with getting the edges and values right. I usually work traditionally, with graphite drawings and oil paintings so my main issue is to get use to paint with photoshop brushes. For this one I used a hard, round brush with some soft/low opacity edges.
1. Bertha Wegmanns painting is one of my favourites, the color on this one is beautiful (..well now it is black and white, but check her out on Google!) and you can really feel the warmth, the sunlight that comes from the window. The primary focal point here is her face, and hair that basically lights up by the sunlight. The balance of the piece is great, the viewer is led towards the primary focal point (the face), and then the secondary (the hands holding the book) and the third focal point (the cloth and the oil paints/palette)
Hey Elisabth this is a great start! REally good job with the shapes! What I observed is that your values on the fingers are a little dark as well as the shadow in the cuff, and the Mass shadow is is bit dark. Its great to see you did your best to capture the fill light! Other than that fabulous job, Just work on your edges it'll help with capturing the likeness of the painting.
I Agree with the balance and focal points, I can see that the Face, hands,and Paint palett and cloth are Primary, Secondary, and tertiary emphasis. I noticed the leaves help pull the viewers eyes down in a S curve Moving through her head down to the white cloth! Again Fabulous work Keep it up
Last edited by Bobbio; July 16th, 2014 at 09:24 PM.
Thanks Bobbio! I agree about the values of the fingers, they are a bit too dark. And I will keep on fighting with the edges!
Ok, here is another study, my second one, "Beggar girl" by Repin. This study took about 4 hours, but I had lots of trouble with her face (I made her head too big all the time) so I cheated a bit by using measure lines, just to get the proportions right.I am still struggling with edges, I tried to paint with two types of brushes, one basic hard round brush to get more edges and one more transparant.
2. Beggar girl, Ilja Repin. I love this portrait, it tells a story about that unknown girl. The emphasis is concetrated around her face, her face is calm and dreamy. The dark part of her hair is painted simple and it contrasts with her light face. There are variety on her clothes, with folds in different directions. There are also variety in her pose, with one sholder lower than the other to make a more dynamic pose. I also see a white flower on the left side, that brings balance to the piece and to keep the viewer back in the painting.
Moving on to the third study, "Hailing the ferryman", by Daniel Ridgway Knight. This took me about 3, 5 h.
3. There is lots of rytm, variety and movement in this piece. There is variety in the girls poses, one with her harm streched out and the other girls pose as a contrast. There is also a contrast between the front girls white shirt and the background, and also the other girls dark shirt. The stream in the river gives a direction to the third focal point - the boat at the other shore.
Alright, a late night study of Jules Bastien-LePage - "study of my grandfather".
4. In this one there is a contrast between the great amount of detail in his grandfathers face compare the the background that feels more atmospheric, less detail and out of focus. Nevertheless, with the far away tree to the right, the painting becomes more balanced, and the viewers eye can remain in the picture. Another thing that contrasts to the detailed face is the black coat, which is painted more simple and that gives focus to the face.
This took me about 3-4 hours. There is a lot of texture in the painting that was a bit hard to capture though...
Moving on to study nr 5, "The geographer", by Vermeer.
5. I tried to focus on simply things first, to get the big shapes correct - like the dark shadow on his robe, the window and the cloth in the foreground. The focal point here is the face, the light from the window. The pose feels perfectly balanced to the other parts of the painting. The surrounding furnitures gives a direction to the eye to the focal point. The chest in the foreground, the chair, the painting on the wall keeps the viewers eye back in the painting. There are also diagonals, folds on the cloth that points to the figure. I can also see repetition in shapes, for example the triangled shape that appears in the negative space close to the left arm that meets the window - and his instrument in his hands (which also forms a triangle).
This one was really fun to work on, and I learned a lot to just simplify things and look for the big shapes and block in the shapes with a hard brush.
Nice start on these. You are headed in the right direction. 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.
Thanks for the comments Jason! I agree about the values, when I look with a fresh eye, the values in all of my previous studies looks a bit off and too dark overall. This time I choosed to challenge myself with doing a Bouguerau study and really take the time to paint and not care about a time limit. I dont know how many hours I spend on this one, at least 10 hours I guess. It was great to slow down and carefully focus on getting the right values and edges.
You did a nice job on this. Your edge work needs to get even closer...notice how sharp your hair is for example vs. the original. Be sure you are getting the full range of sharpest sharp to softest soft edges and you will see another jump in quality.
You seem to have widened her jaw just a bit as well. Watch for that kind of shape difference, especially when doing portraits.