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  1. #1
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    Scarecrow - Composition 1.1

    Hey everybody, It's about time I jumped on this train. I'm looking forward to some critiques!
    First up, Ecstasy by Maxfield Parrish. Contrast brings this one together. There's a really heavy dark foreground, but the woman's dark hair and light skin contrasting against the sky and clouds brings your attention upward. There's also a sort of crescent shape on the left side that goes from the foreground through the mountain slope, up the clouds, and then drops your eye on the woman's face again.
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  3. #2
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    Next one up is Hopper's Nighthawks.
    Scarecrow - Composition 1.1
    I've always liked this painting, but until I worked on it I never realized how almost every straight line in the piece just keeps on going and really leads your eye around. The lit diner is balanced with the lighter street, and the people inside pop off the dark background. There's also a ton of shape repetition and rhythm with the rectangular wood trim on the buildings.
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    Nice job, nailed the composition and values without getting caught up in the detail. Keep it up!

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    Many thanks! Next up is Solomon's Ajax and Cassandra. I liked the stark lighting in this one, how Ajax's head is framed against Cassandra's pale body. The line their bodies make together sweeps your eye through the piece. I'm starting to play with some texture brushes once I get the main forms down. The detail certainly isn't perfect, but it looks closer to the source material with some texture.
    Scarecrow - Composition 1.1
    Also, I tend to go a little over an hour. I have some rather complicated pieces lined up for later, so hopefully I get a bit faster with this practice. Anyway, keep the critiques coming!
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    Next is James Draper's The Lament for Icarus. I thought this one was cool because of the radial composition. Nearly everything in the piece is laid out to draw your eye straight to Icarus' face. Lots of shape repetition in the feathers, and a gradient that grows lighter towards Icarus, effectively framing him as the focal point.
    Scarecrow - Composition 1.1
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    These are excellent and right at the level of finish that I like to see in the shorter studies. With that said, you are 95percent there or closer, which means you can still push for more accuracy from the start, whether that be in shape, value or edge quality. For example, your dark darks in the latest seem to be slightly less dark than the original and your sharpest and softest edges could match up a little bit more closely.

    Great work though..keep them rolling


    jm

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    Awesome! Glad to hear I'm on the right track.
    Here's number five, Expectations by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema. I really liked this one because of its simplicity, the huge white marble slab splitting the piece horizontally and curving around and forcing your eye straight to the figure. The contrast between the marble and the organic forms of the woman and the gnarled branches keeps things moving as well, and lends some balance. Check it out in color though too, I really like how he handled the glow of the marble.
    Scarecrow - Composition 1.1
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    Next up is Summer by Eyvind Earle. This one's a bit different. Instead of going for a representational look, it seems much more graphic. Almost cartoony. Makes sense, as Mr Earle worked for Disney. You might recognize this style from the backgrounds in Sleeping Beauty. Anyhow, the composition is still strong and it involves many techniques that one would use in a more lifelike painting, like a great sense of atmospheric perspective. There's a ton of repetition in the shapes of the trees, the cows, and the hills in the distance, and the forms that the dark plant life and sunlight produce help to lead the eye around the piece. This one was tough to replicate for a few reasons. First, there are a bunch of soft gradients that were hard to capture. Secondly, the tiny stippling leaf patterns in the trees would've been impossible to get right within an hour, so at a glance it looks like my trees are traveling at a mach 1 blur compared to the original.

    Scarecrow - Composition 1.1
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    #7 is Forbes' The Siene Boat. I'm pretty happy with how this one turned out, given that I spent a little over an hour on it. I thought that so many figures would give me trouble but it turned out better than I'd expected. Anyhow, the composition in this one's a little weird. Your eye is drawn to the main dark mass in the foreground and travels from right to left because that's where all of the figures are looking. Once you get to the right edge of the piece, the dark bottom right corner is heavy enough to draw your attention down and send it to the left again on the oar. It's sort of a circular composition.

    Scarecrow - Composition 1.1
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    I like how you finish your short studies, I can learn from your's as I take lots of hours to finish the "short" studies cause it kind of bothers me how it doesn't look like the original. but as I read somewhere else "mistakes are mandatory"
    "Know yourself. Express yourself. Master yourself"
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    #8! This is Bierstadt's Valley of the Yosemite. If there's one thing I really ought to work on, it's environments. I've never been very confident with doing exteriors and interiors so any practice is helpful. I really love Bierstadt's landscapes because of how huge and sweeping they are. I picked this one because I liked the lighting, and couldn't wait to try the rays coming down out of the clouds. This has a pretty typical landscape composition with a dark foreground and everything tending to get lighter as it gets farther away due to atmospheric perspective. The valley guides your attention from the bright setting sunlight, through the hills in the fore/midground, and then back up the huge, warmly lit cliff face. I tried out a bunch of brushes on this one to try to approximate the textures. I'll definitely be doing a few more of these, it was great practice.

    Scarecrow - Composition 1.1
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    Nice landscape study composition and values are accurate and you haven't got hung up on the details, seems like your on the right track so far!

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    Man, it's been a while. I'm back with a vengeance though. Here's #9. The Gulfstream by Winslow Homer. This one was a pain. I restarted it a few times because I misplaced the boat. There wasn't enough solid reference points to base other things off of, so if I did one of the waves wrong, the boat or the shark would be wrong too. Anyway, this one's cool because the values are definitely separated between fore (dark), mid (medium), and background (light). I also really liked how the lighter wave behind the boat and the lighter deck really framed the man and brought him to a focal point.
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    #10- The Island of the Dead by Bocklin.
    I really like this painting. The viewer can't tell how big the island is. It might just be a stand of trees and a couple rocks, or it might stretch all the way to the background. Anyway, contrast plays a serious role here. The island and much of its surroundings are pretty dark, and pretty big. The tiny white figure in the boat really draws your attention because of how different it is from everything else.
    Name:  BöcklinDieToteninselStudy.jpg
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    #11- The Accolade by Leighton

    Gotta admit, this one looks better in color. It's super saturated with reds and oranges, go check it out. The light values in this one send your eye from the woman's shoulder, up her hair to her face, and then her gaze sends you down the sword to the knight and the light floor. The woman is hit with a very strong light and she's set in front of a very dark area, so she pops right out.

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    #12- Battle of Cesme at Night by Aivazovsky

    I really liked the drama in this one, again go check out the color version if you can. The flames of the battle not only punch the dark ship into attention, but they also frame the dark foreground broken masts with reflections off the water. The foreground is dark, but details are picked out using rim light from the distant fires.Name:  AivazovskyBattleofCesmeatNightStudy.jpg
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    Last edited by Scarecrow; May 27th, 2015 at 11:46 PM.

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    #13- Egyptian Queen by Frazetta

    This is one of my favorite Frazetta paintings. The lighter values are in the center of the piece, and the repeating arch shapes draw your eye to the queen herself. Her flowing garment isn't quite as light in value as she is, but it's still lighter than the background so it draws your eye down toward her guard at the right. The jaguar in the foreground also doesn't attract too much attention due to its similarity in value to the foreground elements, but the curving shape and sharp light bouncing off its collar brings your eye away from the left corner and back into the main focus.

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    #14- Sandcrawler by Ralph McQuarrie

    I think Ralph McQuarrie is probably the reason I got into concept art. I grew up a big Star Wars geek, and when I realized that somebody painted all of that incredible stuff before it was made, I wanted to do that too.
    Anyway, the Sandcrawler is the dark monolithic shape in the center of the piece. Everything else kind of revolves around it. The light coming from the open bay helps to lighten the shape a little, otherwise it would be too dark and take attention away from the action in the foreground. The desert is bright with sunlight and the characters and wares all pop off the sand. There's some atmospheric perspective happening, with details dark and strong in the foreground, and fading lighter and less detailed in the distance.
    100%x<svg id="svgcke_72" width="1106px" height="450px"><filter id="SVGdesaturate"><feColorMatrix type="saturate" values="0"></feColorMatrix></filter><clipPath id="SVGprogresscke_72"><rect id="rectcke_72" width="100.00%" height="100%" style="width: 100%;"></rect></clipPath><image width="100%" height="100%" xmlnslink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" xlink:href="blob:http%3A//www.conceptart.org/8ae822a2-c431-4f57-8a18-72b586f10f8a" filter="url(#SVGdesaturate)" style="opacity: 0.5;"></image><image width="100%" height="100%" xmlnslink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" xlink:href="blob:http%3A//www.conceptart.org/8ae822a2-c431-4f57-8a18-72b586f10f8a" clip-path="url(#SVGprogresscke_72)"></image></svg>
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    Last edited by Scarecrow; May 28th, 2015 at 09:39 PM.

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    #15- The White Invader by Harold Von Schmidt

    Here's another good example of contrast framing. There's really only two planes here. A foreground and a background. The values switch though, so that everything still reads well. The background is two gradients, each running dark to light from top to bottom. This really helps split up values in the foreground. The standing man's light hat comes off the dark cloud behind it. His medium value pants contrast with the surrounding light sky. The man on the ground has a dark torso and almost an outline of shadow so that he is framed by the lighter horizon.
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    Last edited by Scarecrow; May 28th, 2015 at 09:41 PM.

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    #16- Rembrandt's The Philosopher in Meditation

    I like this one for a few reasons. First, I like how dark it is. There's very little detail around the edges and corners. Second, the lighting is very dramatic. Third, it was a pretty easy one to study, I think I got the placement of things down pretty well.
    The light coming in from the left is the main source of bright values. This makes for some really sharp shadows. The top half of the staircase goes black as it curves away, and its cool to see the gradient of values as each step turns further from the window. My eye was drawn to the bright window first, and the contrast between the dark figure on the right and the lighter wall behind him followed.
    100%x<svg id="svgcke_72" width="2074px" height="1020px"><filter id="SVGdesaturate"><feColorMatrix type="saturate" values="0"></feColorMatrix></filter><clipPath id="SVGprogresscke_72"><rect id="rectcke_72" width="100.00%" height="100%" style="width: 100%;"></rect></clipPath><image width="100%" height="100%" xmlnslink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" xlink:href="blob:http%3A//www.conceptart.org/7a9228b7-aa90-4ac0-998c-b6def07b9bc4" filter="url(#SVGdesaturate)" style="opacity: 0.5;"></image><image width="100%" height="100%" xmlnslink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" xlink:href="blob:http%3A//www.conceptart.org/7a9228b7-aa90-4ac0-998c-b6def07b9bc4" clip-path="url(#SVGprogresscke_72)"></image></svg>
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    Last edited by Scarecrow; May 28th, 2015 at 09:42 PM.

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    #17-Lander's Peak by Bierstadt

    This one was tough. Texture plays a big role here, and there's a TON of detail. I blocked in the main shapes and values, but I went well over an hour trying to detail and told myself to quit before I got too wrapped up in things.
    The lightest value is the wedge of light coming down toward the center of the piece. It guides your eye to a nice bright waterfall and a mountain lake that's framed by dark foreground elements.
    I really enjoy working on landscapes, but it's difficult to get things just right because of how much is going on. Like I said, I had to stop not long after blocking in and separating most of the bigger shapes and values. Not too happy with the foreground, but practice makes perfect.
    100%x<svg id="svgcke_72" width="705px" height="450px"><filter id="SVGdesaturate"><feColorMatrix type="saturate" values="0"></feColorMatrix></filter><clipPath id="SVGprogresscke_72"><rect id="rectcke_72" width="100.00%" height="100%" style="width: 100%;"></rect></clipPath><image width="100%" height="100%" xmlnslink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" xlink:href="blob:http%3A//www.conceptart.org/c808500d-bd97-411f-8156-56c5775fd8a2" filter="url(#SVGdesaturate)" style="opacity: 0.5;"></image><image width="100%" height="100%" xmlnslink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" xlink:href="blob:http%3A//www.conceptart.org/c808500d-bd97-411f-8156-56c5775fd8a2" clip-path="url(#SVGprogresscke_72)"></image></svg>
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    Last edited by Scarecrow; May 28th, 2015 at 09:43 PM.

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    Scarecrow, I have to say I really like your studies. You seem focused on the overall value shape rather than particular nitty-gritty details. These studies almost become representative of 3-5 value studies and/ or notan studies. That last Bierstadt piece is awesome as you can see the strong notan design of basically 3 value shapes. with good mixed ratios of these three shapes. Dark shape (35%) Mid value shape (50%) and Light value shape (15%) There is great skill in varying values within these shapes in vary subtle ways to create interest without loosing the overall shape of the value. Very cool.
    Last edited by arcitek; May 29th, 2015 at 07:32 AM.

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    #18-NC Wyeth's Sir Percival illustration from Treasure Island

    I'm a big fan of Wyeth's work, but I wanted to do a lesser-known piece.
    This one has some crazy lighting. It's presumably lit by the moon on a clear night, because the house in the background is way brighter than you'd expect. It's odd to have such a big shape so bright back there, but the road and reflections from the figure's metallic elements balance it out. Even if the road isnt as bright in value, it's a larger chunk of real estate so it's a bit heavier. I'd say there's a radial composition happening here. All of the major lines and edges guide your eye toward Sir Percival's face. His arm, the edge of the roof, the curve of the road and his hat on the ground all point you back up to his head.
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    Much appreciated. Giving myself only an hour to knock these out, that's sort of the effect I'm aiming for. Big shapes to get the general composition set up, and then going in to pull out details until I run out of time. Thanks again!

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    #19 Howard Pyle's A Wolf Had Not Been Seen in Salem for Thirty Years

    This one is super high contrast, almost on opposite ends of the value spectrum. It's simple, but it creates a great tension. The dark mass of people on the left slopes down and aims across the horizon to the wolf on the right. The background is generally light gray, so the dark masses of the figures stand out against the snow and sky.

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    #20 Syd Mead's Running of the Six GRXX

    Wellp, here's the last one! I felt like making it count, so I tracked down one of my favorite Syd Mead paintings. I couldn't find a hi-res reproduction, but these are just studies so I didn't need too much detail anyway. This was a lot of fun to paint. I went well over an hour on it though, and there's still a TON of detail left out. Regardless, I think it turned out okay. I'm happy enough with the main shapes and values.
    There's a lot going on here. My eye initially was led to the giant robot beast 2nd from the left. It's a bit darker than the surrounding ones so it comes forward in space, drawing your eye to it. The darkest values are in the foreground (as usual), but there's nothing to really grab your eye. It's all just a bunch of crowd detail scattered around. That's a good way to add perspective and scale while allowing your attention to head into the distance. The repetition of the six racing machines, especially their heads, is great. It helps to tell the story of the piece, gives a sense of scale, and moves your eye along across each of the machines. this in turn allows you to notice all of the little mechanical details, and the contrast of the limbs spreads your eye through the piece further. There are darker areas on the edges, but they all point your eye back into the action. All in all a very effective and awesome painting. A good one to end on!

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    Wow, these were a joy to look at ! Great job !!

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    good work on the studies, still you can push yourself watching over the edges.

    Keep the good work!!!
    "Know yourself. Express yourself. Master yourself"
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    Nice group of work you have here. In general seemed very well done so I will just stick with #13 for this crit.
    Good use of values and economy of strokes including the brighter whites in the pillar to make the edges pop. Her pose seems just a little off in regards to her chest. To me the original recedes farther back while yours seems to to raise up a bit. Or it could just be that her shoulder value is a little different . But really this is just a minor spot in an overall great piece. Did this take around an hour to do?

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