I'm happy to begin with my first assignement. At first I felt a bit uncomfortable seeing all the great works in here, I think they are all way above my level. However, I'll give it a try.
My first study relates to the work of the german painter Carl Blechen: Grotto in the parque of Villa d'Este.
I chose it as i thought it would not be to complex for a start. But working on it I got more and more impressed of it. There was much to dirscover. How tricky he balanced the weight of the two monks with the dark shadows on the left side of the Grotto. I enjoyed how he guided the viewers eye with the crisp shadows of the stony structures, as well as i was impressed by the many varyiations in the caves outer edge contrasting to the mostly undefined background.
The amazingly detailed Masterpiece by Alexandre Cabanel has a strong rythm and plays with repetition and variation. Look how the flock of angels make up an almost symetrical counterweight to the lying Venus.
I just finished number 4: The study of Monica in Oil by Fabian Perez.
I am deeply impressed by his focussing on the emotive side of the portrait by light. The work appears almost photorealistic although he uses realtively rough strokes. Note how he reduces the amount of detail in the areas out of foucs to the absolute minimum.
Here goes my No. 5:
Salvador Dali: dream caused by the flight of a bee around a pomegranate a second before awakening
Dali was the artist which really caught me when I was a boy of about 12 or 13 years. And he should accompany me for many years. I read a lot of stuff he wrote, and I am still deeply impressed.
The study turned out to get really painfull for me, as I underestimated the amount of concentration it would take me to stick to it. Now I am simply happy that its finished. Usually I work on the whole picture at once, but this time I felt more comfortable with creating the pictorial elements as they appear in the cosmos of the image. It really felt like one was born from the element behind it until the last dark shade, the bayonet, touches Gala, Dali's Venus. Somehow I sense 2 triangular shapes of almost equal size in the work: the dark horizontal - with the pomegranate at its tip an the cliff as the root - versus the light triangular with the elephants obelisk at its tip and the plane beneath Gala as its root. and both shapes have an opposite colored circular form at the almost same position: The white circular form right of the elephants leg versus the dark little pomegrante with the bee at the lower part of the imagine. Impressive.
By the way: It took about 2.5 hours.
Note the pretty simple, almost geometric background while there is a vast of detail to observe in the well composed elements.
Good work! I really like your last Dali, as well as your study of the Birth of Venus. My only critique would be, don't be afraid to use darker values for your darkest darks. All of your paintings tend to be lower contrast than the originals.
Just a quick study this time: Caspar David Friedrich: Sea of Ice
I love its strong rythm and how he brakes the hard edges with softer snow structures. It is full of variations of the different stone and ice types, which makes it look even more impressive. The shipwreck on the right pops out even more as its outline is the only unique part of the piece.The distant mountain in the upper left is an almost exact duplication of the structure in the focus, by this repetition the eye is guided into the depth of the picture. The original work is amazingly detailed.
Vuelo de Brujas (Witches Flight) by Francisco Goya
I like the atmosphere of the piece. Its darkness and the way the scared guy in the centre is emphasized to explain the scene above: 3 witches which caught a guy, maybe sucking his blood, or whatever. Without the guys on the floor it would be hard to read the work. The donkey finally appears to be a symbol for something I don't actually understand. The people of Goya's time might have understood. I should consult wikipedia on it.
I really like the lighting of the piece.It looks so natural. The repetition lies int the rythm: The heads, the shoulders, the hands, the feet... they all form almost identical curves pinting to the upper right of the image.
I like the way the dead Icarus is emphasised by the strong contrast of the light nymphs and feathers surrounding him. The almost rectandular angle of the dark wings supports that, while the landscape in the background balances the main scene.
My next study shows Jan Vermeer: Christ in the House of Martha and Mary
It was a bunch of work to paint it... especially as drapery is something I really struggle with.
When I first saw the piece, I immediately assumed that the guy was Jesus. I wondered why I associated it with him, although the scene is not a typical one at the first sight. Maybe it was the pose? By studying it I observed a discrete corona of light behind his head, which I never have paid attention to before.
Ok great to see where you are at. 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.
These are stellar and you are absolutely on the right track. My only comment would be to use textured brushes to pick up some of the surface quality of the thicker areas of the paint when surface is so obvious. That will bring these to the next level and help with atmosphere and capturing the essence of the work. A bit more analysis of the compositions would be great to see too.
Thanks for your highly motivational comment, Jason. I'll try to work on that - I have to admit that my photoshop skills are not the best, especially regarding the use of brushes.
My next study relates to Anders Zorn and his painting "an Algerian man and boy looking across the bay of Algiers".
At the first sight I thought this one would not be to difficult to study. It looked pretty easy and I thought it would be a welcome contrast to the old masters I studied before. Finally it took more effort than I expected to render the image. I found it quite difficult to render the light forms. However I enjoyed it a lot to paint it.
Coming to analysing the picture the focal point is quite obvious. The face and hands are the darkest areas of the painting. Interesting how the two shapes balance each other. Then I observed that Zorn uses triangular forms again and again. I tried to show some of them in the sketch on the lower left (A) - they are highly variable relating to their content however some of them are balancing each others, too. Second I observed that the more detailed area, which means the persons and their drapery on the left, is balanced by an almost undefined area of nearly the same size, rotated by 180 degrees, on the right.
(B) Finally I noticed that the lighter areas of the painting are almost equal the darker areas in size. Rhythmical bows guide the watchers eye, while the diagonals and the orthogonal lines of the wall emphasize the perspective depth of the work.
Thanks Black Spot. I highly appreciate you pulled me back into the assignement.
Today I finished my last study! Hooray! It was a great exercise.
It's Delacroix with his orphan girl at the cemetery.
I love the intensity of the piece.It has a strong emotional impact on me.
I observed that Delacroix used many different textures to render hi work, which gives a lot of life to the image. He used Highlights very economically on her face, to show her sadness, and on her shirt which makes the focal area almost pop out of the painting. I see some sort of zig zag composition to aerate the more static appearance of the pyramidal setup.
I think you should revisit the angle of her profile, please check the negative shapes. When you're studying composition, it's the little things that can make a huge difference, like the lightness of her top.