Greyscale landscape painting (Yunnan, China)

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  11 November 2012
Greyscale landscape painting (Yunnan, China)

I used some reference of photos taken in the Chinese province of Yunnan and made the rest up.

Some areas look quite flat to me. Any tips in particular to help this?
  12 December 2012
No tips, but I'll say I really like this.

Oh, one thing maybe: the roof of the pagoda seems too much to the right (doesn't seem to be in weight center - looks like it will tip off to the right). But like said, really nice!
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  12 December 2012
Thanks man. I think the pagoda looks a little off and would probably fall over to the right... it's funny how I can become 'blind' to random parts of a painting - it's so obvious to see now
  12 December 2012
Yeah, usually I do not dare to comment since I'm a beginner myself, but sometimes all you need is a fresh pair of eyes to point a mistake the author can't see anymore. More fundamental critique I live to others.
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  12 December 2012
It is easier to see those mistakes, if u flip your canvas horizontally
  12 December 2012
Flipping the image horizontally is the best cure for "I've lost objectivity after staring at this for so long," as well as the inherent brain bias we all have, which can only be corrected by flipping the image and looking at it like a mirrored version. Doing so will show you all the mistakes you couldn't see before, as well as give you a fresh perspective on the image, thus giving you back a lot more objectivity.

The tonal composition of your image is too scattered, with lot of contrast everywhere, creating equal amount of visual noise throughout the image. This also creates the "I don't know where my main light source is" look, which is very confused and lacking a coherent lighting scheme that gives the scene a real sense of presence.

Where is your main light source? I can't tell because your values are all scattered and contrasty, without a clear indication of where your form and cast shadows are. If your scene is an overcast sky, we should see very diffused lighting that don't have all that strong contrast and almost overblown highlights everywhere. If you haven't studied lighting seriously before, you can start here:

One more tip--when composing your image, try to imagine your scene as simply basic flat values of simple geometric shapes--how would you arrange the values and shapes so that even on an abstract level, you have a strong visual design?
  12 December 2012
Thank you for your reply, it's very helpful for me.

I've just read the light article and also ordered the author's book so should begin to understand lighting for future paintings. When you say that the painting has many areas of high contrast I reckon I 'get this' but we'll see if I can apply this later on... When I began the painting I decided on an overcast light and then changed this so that the light came from the right. Bad idea...

You're suggestion about composition is great - I shall try this technique again and again.

* Flip canvas is now a hotkey in Photoshop! No more wonky buildings!
  12 December 2012
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