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  1. #1
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    R-V-S - Composition 1.1

    Hi all. I'm starting this assignment with a Michael Sowa piece, Fowl With Pearls, because it's a fairly straight-forward composition, and because Sowa's style and subject matter both resonate with me. I painted this on my phone (a Note 4) since it's about the right size for this assignment.

    Name:  Sowa Study 1 by R-V-S.png
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    Observations while painting:


    1. I realized that the primary focal point/emphasis may actually be the pearls and not the face. The areas of the neck and body that are above/below the pearls are some of the lightest values (not to mention the specular on the pearls themselves). That's really interesting to me, though it makes sense. The order of information the viewer seems like it's: (1) You're looking at a fowl, (2) she's wearing pearls, and (3) her expression and demeanor suggest that she is sophisticated.
    2. Economy is obvious in the background, but the fowl's body is surprisingly detailed for an area that doesn't seem to have any significance. I think Sowa went into a fair amount of details on the feathers of even insignificant areas because he wanted to show the viewer that he's taking this painting seriously. He also wants the eye to be drawn to the pearls.

      A realization that surprised me was that economy could be viewed in terms of object/shape complexity. The head is surprisingly detailed in terms of shapes. You can see the facial muscles and bone structure. The neck has some anatomical detail. The body, however, is barely more than an egg shape. I don't think this is happenstance. This doesn't appear to be based on a real type of fowl, but rather an imaginary one that just looks like it could be a real bird, so Sowa could have more thoroughly fleshed out the body (no pun intended), but he chose not to.
    3. There's rhythm in the headfeathers, pearl size/spacing, and brush strokes everywhere.
    4. Variation exists in textures (smooth beak, glassy eyes, glossy pearls, feathery feathers), size of pearls, size of headfeathers, brushwork.
    5. Repetition is found in the feathers, pearls, headfeathers, and brush strokes.
    6. The pearls towards the bottom and the headfeathers near the top of the piece provide great balance, ensuring that the face isn't the only thing to look at.
    7. I'm not exactly sure how continuity would apply to a portrait like this.


    Thanks for critiquing.

    Raj


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  3. #2
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    I'm a little confused by links in the Level Up portal. The "post" link for Comp 1.1 posts directly to the Level Up! Stage 1 -> Composition forum. The "critique" link goes to the Start! Art Workshops -> Composition thread. And then there's the Level Up! -> Composition -> LU Comp 1.1 thread (where this post is at the moment) ... Is this thread in the right place?

  4. #3
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    This is a great first drawing for this assignment. I'm really impressed with the level of detail you can draw on a phone. It's really crazy. What I've noticed is that your birds head is slightly smaller in comparison to the rest of its body compared to that of the reference. The shadow area is also darker in the reference and the pearls in your piece seem to have the weight on the right side in regards to the viewer compared to the original which is opposite if you can understand what I'm saying. Zooming out and squinting can help with checking your values. This piece is really good for your first one and will be interested to see more of your work in comp 1.1. Btw how long did you spend on one?

  5. #4
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    Thanks bmcd42. Really helpful critique. I hadn't thought of the physical properties of the necklace, like the weight, but now I wish I had. I'll try to think about weight (and other things like volume) in the future.

    I didn't keep good track of the time, but I think somewhere between 2–3 hours. I'm going to aim to limit myself to 2 or less for the rest, but I don't know if I'll be able to do it.

  6. #5
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    nice, i love how the eye is blended with the background, it's really a great example of unity right?
    Last edited by TjiuWandi; December 10th, 2015 at 03:07 AM.

  7. #6
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    Awesome start. Squint to check your overall values ans you're almost there. Keep it up.

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