View Full Version : Sorry I Could Not Join You

03 March 2009, 03:40 AM
( note: I promise this looks a lot better if clicked upon to view its larger file (red becomes muddy when compressed) least it seems to look better, in my opinion.

Choosing for inspiration a professional, gifted, artist working in traditional fine arts was hopefully the start of a trend. Thank you for sponsoring such an engaging challenge!

This image is based upon the style and pallet of my two favorite Yerka paintings "Manufacturing Light" and "S.A.D." It is a visual interpretation, in the muti-dimensional room format used with "Bathyscaphe" and "Four Seasons," of the mental traps negative romantic relationships may become. What inspires me most about Yerka's paintings, such as "On the Edge of Space" and "Tower of Subconsciousness," are their intellectual, reflective, even spiritual dimensions.

Brutally honest critical feedback would be super-appreciated. Thanks again for creating such a cool challenge! Cheers!

03 March 2009, 05:29 AM
The following are techniques I found useful while creating this image (it would be super-helpful if posting tips were a habit for everyone upon finishing...there is a heck of a lot at least I know I look forward to learning, always...I've fallen in love with 2D digital painting, this challenge was a great experience):

Working with two views of the same document, with one window set to 50 percent resolution and another set at 100 percent, was immensely helpful. It is possible to draw in the 100 percent window while simultaneously checking results in the 50 percent window, or whatever resolution will eventually be used for distribution.

Objects can be quickly painted by laying down a rough sketch, or silhouette, in a single color by using the paintbrush and eraser tools. CTRL click on this layer to select the silhouette and then use a paint brush to roughly dab in highlights, shadows, and slight variations of the base color. Next create a cool textured mix of these colors by using the smudge tool to smear around within the confines of the selection. Finally, shape the object dimensionally by using Burn and Dodge tools (changing settings to affect highlights, mid-tones, or shadows, as necessary). Feathers and fur can then be easily added by drawing out details with smudge and eraser tools.

Oh! And the most important tip is that which is mentioned on Jacek's website: sketch out a thumbnail first....(and ask for feedback at that stage, even if it results in a lot of "door slamming," as he said). One can only imagine how much more critical thumbnail feedback must be for painting. In a digital medium such as Photoshop it is useful to work as much as possible with smart objects in order to preserve their integrity while resizing, reorienting, and duplicating components as image composition and layout evolve. (Likewise for layer grouping.) The crescent moon at the center of "Sorry I Could Not Join You," for example, is a smart object inside a maze window smart object, which is inside a spiral staircase smart object, inside an entire room smart object. (The cool thing about this workflow is it allowed the entire central room to be moved around the background stage until it seemed appropriate to place it slightly off-center...after even experimenting with tilting, duplicating, and scaling it -- all with no degradation.)

If I were to make an image like this again I would without question first sketch it, then rough out forms dimensionally in Maya to obtain an exactly correct perspective. After quite a bit of trial and error, labor, thought, and even guessing, I finally created the basic Maya file shown below to check perspective layout. It made a difference. Even though we are very, very good as humans in determining correct perspective, we can still be subjected to illusions and our own misconceptions about the way the world "must be." Dimension just snapped into place once objects were sketched in Maya. Most confusing to me was the placement of the nearest apples: those seen in the image actually extend quite a bit beyond the edge of the room in real 3D.

Ok, I'm sure a few more useful tips will come up later. It was cool think through Yerka's aesthetic perspective, too. Thanks again for creating such an inspiring challenge!

Good luck everyone...

03 March 2009, 05:42 AM
I love the quality of work you put into the image, but the focus and the background seem to be 2 different pictures. They arn't very well integrated, as if one was layed over the other.

03 March 2009, 06:03 AM
Here's a file size at an optimal resolution for distribution:

Paintings by Jacek Yerka I found especially inspiring may be found here:

"On the Edge of Space" and "Halloween"

"Bathyscaphe" and "Time avenue"

"S.A.D." and "Illegal Production of Light"

Basically I found Jacek's sophisticated mature professional aesthetics to be varied and mutable. Some entries have been derided as "too saturated," "too much like your own work," or even "too much like a copy of Jacek's work." At first I panicked when reading such criticisms, then, I just gave up and tried to celebrate what I LEARNED from Jacek's thought provoking work -- with my own perspective as an artist.

To settle such criticisms it seems a simple test could be imagined: show a random stranger an entry submission and selections of works from 10 or so important artists of Jacek's caliber. If the person says an entry is in the style of Jacek, great; if the person says it is in the style of Van Gogh or Da Vinci, it doesn't pass. As far as I am concerned, ALL the entries alluded to in the quoted commentary above pass the "style" test; these artists have spent too much effort defending themselves from small-minded critics...enough.

03 March 2009, 06:21 AM
Fun things to look for: stuffed and mounted Jacek flying clocks and funnel things on back wall, anvil with "Remove Before Flight" banner, mp3 player with feet, Aladin's lamp with an eject handle, funky bats with pocket watches next to a hanging suit and ties, men and women's shoes and a steaming heart on the table top center...fractal carpet and one heck of an uncomfortable seat (handcuffs, nails, seatbelt)...enjoy!!

(Oh...not so amusing are the ghosts of aborted babies floating in the right mist.)

03 March 2009, 06:56 AM
More amusing details (at least I hope you find them amusing): cat feet hanging through floor (next to totally screwed up compass) detail: cat jumping through dimension near ridiculous clock, sand timer, and curious cat heads...last detail: scale weighing gold vs hearts (beneath huge steaming Jacek fungus thing on wall)...enjoy!!

03 March 2009, 12:14 AM
I love the quality of work you put into the image, but the focus and the background seem to be 2 different pictures. They arn't very well integrated, as if one was layed over the other.

Thanks a sense the background and center room are supposed to look like two different pictures, contrasting the clear, precise, concrete nature of our daily immediate lives -- with the abstract, undefined, nearly limitless potential of choices and opportunities in which we create our relationships. The center space is meant to be a temporary mental construct...formal and precise, concrete and ordered, but, really, ultimately, only a construction of our own mind: wishes, hopes, failures and so on. So there is supposed to be a bit of a contrast. (I guess...?) You know how Da Vinci and other painters particularly of his era would include faint blue mysterious cities, mountains, and landscapes behind otherwise very, very precise portraits and so on? That's kind of the look I was aiming, "Manufacturing Light"...part of the painting just disappears...seems to be a different painting. I guess that was what I was thinking. (The hole in the ceiling for example opens to a dark sky -- in contrast to the sky in the background which has a hole in it also, but one which opens to a starry sky.......? ...maybe this is why Jacek's family apparently suffers from a lot of "door slamming." The background and center are intentionally kind of actually meant to be different....?)

I imagine people must constantly return to past works in digital is a very seductive opportunity, so I'm grateful for your suggestion and will continue working with this image. I'm beginning to also think I should have used a different color scheme...everyone seems to be consumed with pale green leaves and wheat, even though many of Jacek's paintings of course have no wheat or a single leaf. : ) It was a learning experience...I am so glad to have kept the work of a cool artist in mind while spending time on this image, it was very inspiring...I hope there are many future fine art oriented challenges.

Thank you for your critique. When reworking this image in the future I'll definitely take into account your suggestions....

Can I ask, how do you think the background and center should be better integrated?

Should the center image include colors from the exterior?

Should both be painted in the same level of precision? (Should there be more mystery in the center?)

Does the point of making a contrast between the ethereal, temporary quality of personal spaces we construct for ourselves in life, make sense?...the center of concrete choices amidst infinite possibilities...?

Is the image worth improving??? : )

Thanks again.....

03 March 2009, 01:29 AM
Well since you have wood panelling on the inside of the room, it might be good to give the room a border of wood instead of the sharp black. You could also try to tie some of the element in the background into the center. For example, you could have the road in the back pass through one of the walls. But if the image was meant to appear as 2 different spaces with loose ties, then I think it is fine. All that really matters is if it successfully portrays what you wanted.

03 March 2009, 09:37 PM
Yes, you're right, the black boarder seems artificial. And the road and other elements could interact with the room to suggest more of a relationship, while also maintaining a sense distinction (through color and composition...even mirrored movement). Wish this were a WIP! Thanks for your suggestions.

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