Okay, project 3!
This is the ref I used:
This object looked cool and interesting so I spent a little more time on these then proscribed. My sketch looks very jaggy, and a first I thought it was because of the low-res digitizer in my tabletPC. After I finished the sketch though I poked around in PS's brush settings and found that smoothing was turned off for my custom pencil brush
And here are the paints:
Half way through the first of these I got really frustrated by my large chalk brush, so I switched to a large hard round instead. The top two are from light 2, then on the bottom are lights 3 and 1. The light sources are: 1-high front, 2-low side, and 3-mid back. For light one I kinda winged it. My values got really muddy toward the end though, and I had to use a darken layer to tweak it into shape. On light 2 I started by mapping my lighting using four values. On the left is the light map, and on the right the finished version. To me the light mapped version works better than the finished version, maybe some lesson about simplification there? Light 3 was done the same way as 2. One of the hardest things with these was deciding how much light to put on the flat faces. Assuming there is some environment in these pictures even the back facing faces would get some light. Also lights two and three are close to the subject so there should be some bloom. Another related problem is that the back faces need to be lit for the form to read correctly.
Two tools I find usefull when painting:
First is the problem of line work. In painting line work is a crutch, to me these looked a lot better with the lines over the top of the paint, but I am working on painting not drawing. I think that it is very important to make your paintings stand on their own. If when you remove your lines your painting falls apart then you arn't really painting at all, you're coloring. I only leave the lines on until I have the basic shapes roughed in, then I either set their layer to < 50% transparent, or turn them off completely. Painting over your lines would work too.
Second is canvas flipping. I forgot to do this on all of these exercises so far, and they probably could have been better if I'd done it. Basically you should try to flip your image every ten-fifteen minutes while you work. You would not believe the number of minor errors and problems you will catch if you just do this simple thing. Also working from referance on a flipped painting helps challenge the observational part of your brain, just like drawing upside down does.