So, in my ongoing effort to learn something, I've gone through my SB for any insights into my messy art. Here's the best advice so far. If everyone here does the same thing, and posts in this thread, maybe we can condense our knowledge into one great big tasty read? Sorry, I didn't add names for all this. got lazy.
"maybe you need to loosen your linework a little in order to make them look more alive."
"from you first figure studies you show a real strength with form construction if you managed to combine that when you are drawing from life it would help you a lot with structure rather then just copying the value shape"
"think about the direction of your lines"
"Try using less lines, When you are doing contour drawings of figures and shapes."
"check out the main features that make up the head."
"a pencil tip only really covers the size of a period ---> . and using that to render out a huge image is like trying to kill an elephant by stabbing it to death with a toothpick."
"sketches don't have to be prescious little things; scribble if you have to, show your underlines and where you had to adjust/make changes. Stop trying to render everything. Structural lines can even be found in the studies Michealangelo did for the sistene chapel"
"Looking at some of your heads, I see that you're leaving quite a bit of the paper showing through. This would be ok if the rest of your shading were more subtle, but as it is you have a lot of dark darks and a lot of light lights very disjointed. It's splitting up your forms and we lose the impression of three-dimensionality."
"With your drawings, however I miss some of the love and patience you put into your brushstrokes. youare seeing drawing too much like painting, sure the principles are somewhat the same, you have values and midtones and all that. But you don't have color which is what you are relying on. You could do a monochromatic painting and you'd see that relying on value alone does make a difference in recognition of the subject. The value-relationships are crucial to drawing, especially when rendering. Mindcandymanonce gave the tip to consciously limit yourvalues just to 2 lighttones, 3 Midtones and 2 shadowtones, if youcan, do even less, you can achieve beauty just wth 2 values and things willstill be recognizable. Apart from that, your pencil-strokes are flattening the form. this becomes especially aparent in your portraits where this messes up the cheek and the forehead in a lot of cases. Try to defne around the form, not through it."
"I really hate to spoil it, but although this guy is sound in structure, your rendering is making things bad again. The folds and wrinkles (mainly on his forehead, the mouth is fine) look like they are painted on top of the skin and not like 3D-gaps in the surface."
"I don't quite know what happened from then to now, but it seems your line quality has gone down a bit, instead of being relatively smooth and steady now it's much more scratchy and less accurate. If I were to work on something, I think it would be concentrating on line quality and accuracy."
EDIT: This was from a WIP thread of mine, and I feel unworthy to get Chris Bennett praising me for anything, but it's definately some of the best advice I've gotten from CA. So here it is. If any of you got advice from C. Bennett, post it!
"The second painting, of the trees in the snow is beautiful just as it is. It has the same energy and suprise as the first drawing of the chrurch steeple seen through the trees.
The strength of that second painting is in the way you animate the surface with pure pictorial expression - its all about the delight of having things happen on the surface made by the shapes of the paint marks which somehow translate your excitement about looking into this glade in winter sunshine.
I would try and make a painting by using this very painting as your subject to paint from that simply exploited this rather than trying to work up a 'more detailed' scene."
"The drawing of the two windows at the end of the room is also very good - a real experience that you have made something of and have something to 'say' about. It would be good to see you do something with that. There is a lot of heart felt feeling and tenderness that comes from your drawings that seems independent of technical assurance. It's a precious gift, don't loose it!"
"The fact that they are limited pallette exercises makes no difference whatsoever - their beauty derives from the fact they are clear and direct.
Looking at the drawing of the net curtain and how it relates to the other drawings I see that you work really well with flat patterning and form being a sort of by-product - they are like a persian carpet in a way. I'll stick my neck out and say that this is where your real strength lies - a sort of 'poetry of patterning'. The reason I say 'poetry' is because your work is not just decorative patterning whose only purpose is to 'look nice' but the patterning sort of speaks of the drama of the world. That first drawing of the church steeple is better than the second for just this reason - it is a pattern dance on the surface which, because it gives itself up to this, evokes form in a way that works for you much better than when you directly try to 'describe' it. Some of those drawings of the girls surrounded by the desks are full of drama, all made out of the way you have quietly linked the shapes together, almost irrespective of what they represent."
"The street scenes look a little to 'ordinary' or everyday' for me, and would not present something too different from what you see around in terms of 'standard street scene' type paintings."
"That latest pallete knife painting of trees along some sort of river or path is exactly what I mean in terms of your work working really well when you are 'patterning' - there is an unself-conscious delight in the ordering of 2D relationships across the surface that due to its conviction and confidence and you evidently feeling comfortable with this, implies a very powerful and 'surprising' sense of space and form in an emotional way."
"In fact, thinking about your net curtain drawing, your trees drawing, the classroom drawings, your street paintings and the 'painting of the snow avenue' that I liked so much; your really powerful guns are located in your feeling for space and light rather than form. When you you are thinking of space and light, which is brought out naturally with the 'patterning approach', you seem to be speaking of something you have an intense and natural feeling for and is uniquely your own. It is your feeling for space and light rather than form that is your brightest jewel - you should exploit it to the full, polish it and place it at the centre of your crown.
The pallette knife forces you to interpret things as a pattern on a surface - the whole buisness of laying the paint on with the side of the knife makes you think in terms of shapes rather than digging into the surface with a brush. It is like a glorious tapestry or carpet - exactly the way that we get the most joy out of looking at paintings.
Patterning....patterning is the probity of painting - it is the way we comunicate our way of looking. Being translated into the code of marks on a flat surface, the onlooker is quite literally made to feel your way of seeing form by 'reading' the flat shapes into a solid form inside their own minds."
"Do this when you paint the figure, reinventing what you see as form into flat patternings just as you do the trees, rocks and skies of your landscapes. Don't worry about 'getting it right'. It will be right if you believe in your pattern. Because if you believe it then so will the onlooker and thus so will they believe in the figure you represent. Believing in an image, feeling it is 'right' has nothing to do with accuracy and everything to do with a music of pattern."