Eve and the Serpent (nudity)

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Old 01 January 2013   #1
Eve and the Serpent (nudity)

Work in progress of a new painting based on Jorge Monreal's illustration Eva
(done for his contest where you're supposed to reinterpret one of his works in your style).

Pose and lighting reference from photos by Geraldine (Gestiefeltekatze)

Right now I've fixed all the problems I could see (if you care about the previous WIPs they are here) and have all major things blocked in (I rushed on the snake lighting so it's not good yet, the hair other than near her face is also just a sketch for the position).

I wonder if there are any other glaring problems with it. If anyone notices something they don't find OK (her right eye?) please let me know. Software used is Artrage (oils + pallete knife technique).
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Old 01 January 2013   #2
Ah, sometimes it helps me just to post it somewhere and I can start thinking different about the painting. So I'm going to try and look at it from an outside perspective and apply some things I've learned since I started painting this to write my own critique. Maybe you guys can tell me if you feel the same.

The narrative is a little undefined and you can't know what exactly is going on. It's almost like it's just a girl posing with an apple and a snake for a photo shoot (which is apparently what you get when you just make your scene from photo shoot references ). I need to emphasize the kind of contrasting narrative to the bible story where Eve sees through snake's temptation and squeezes her with despise. The squeeze should be harder, her look more defined. Because Eve is already entangled by the snake it shows it was successfully tempting her before the depicted moment, but the squeeze and mean look then bring the contrast and twist to the narrative. To better portrait the garden of eden setting maybe the background could be different. Or it can be the same, indicating her emotions at the time. Then the title of the image could be more telling like Eve's Resentment.

The composition works as much as I can tell, Eve in the center to put dominating focus on her reaction to the snake. This means even more attention to details should be put to the face while the rest of the image can be looser. The curves of the snake and hair guide your eyes in a circle around the image, always bringing you back to the face. A strand of hair on her right shoulder could help ease the transition from the arm with the apple to her neck. The highlight on the hair curving to the top, the one above her head should be muted as it draws unwanted attention to the edge of the image.

Correct rendering of lighting needs to receive more attention. The light comes from the right, slightly from below, but her fingers holding the snake are lighter on top. there needs to be cast shadow form the snake onto Eve. The bottom left part of the image needs to be darker and the red lighting from the left side needs to be dominating that part.

Colors are ok, very warm red, but contrasting cold green for the snake. Snake needs more contrast though, pushing the darks to black.

OK, I think I gave myself enough work for the next couple of hours. I guess sometimes you just need to look at an image like it's not your own.
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Old 01 January 2013   #3
It feels so surreal to be communicating with you in cgtalk, now that you're my student, even if we actually met here (your WIP with the ants I gave a critique on).

Compositionally, I think the image could use a bit of breathing room on the right, because where her legs terminate looks a bit awkward. We can't tell where the rest of her legs go, and even though we can tell it's been covered up, it "feels" abrupt. The bottom and top can also use a bit of extension, so the main subject isn't just so smack in the middle. Even for a central iconic composition, a bit of offsetting can add a lot to the predictable sense of visual balance.

The body language looks a bit stiff--especially her right arm. Asymmetry is your friend when it comes to natural poses (we'll get into this in-depth in week six of the workshop). Try raising one shoulder and hand higher than the other to offset that stiff, symmetrical balance.

Her right shoulder/armpit area lacks proper form. This is the danger of cherry-picking from references, or "Frankensteining" (again, I'll get into detail about this in week six), and the only remedy is to shoot your own reference, or have someone pose exactly to your specifications and send you a photo of it. You can even hire local art models--they're really cheap (around $20 an hour or so, give or take depending on the person). Hell, shoot yourself or someone you know with a tripod, mirror, and household lamps.

Her abdomen area also looks a bit odd, because you deviated too much from the reference (don't deviate unless you are an advanced artist who's mastered anatomy/figure, otherwise every time you deviate, you're adding unintentional mistakes that you can't see, but advanced artists can spot right away).

I think that's about it for now. More will come once you're finished.

Now get yer butt back to the workshop and do the assignments.
Old 01 January 2013   #4
Thanks so much Rob! I need to finish this in the 2 days left of January so I guess I'll just be painting this and reading lecture notes like crazy.

That's excellent feedback, thanks again. I'll post an update when I get everything in place.
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Old 01 January 2013   #5
Current WIP after most Rob's feedback taken into account (but none of mine ). Everything helped so much. Now I just need to finish this.

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Old 02 February 2013   #6
Eve's Rage

Finished (for what it's worth ). Click the image for more info in my portfolio.

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Old 02 February 2013   #7
There are still a lot of issues left in the image, but since it's finished, I don't know if you'll doing any more work on it. Some of the issues are things you'll be learning about in the coming weeks of the workshop, so maybe we'll just let this be for now.
Old 02 February 2013   #8
Yes, I needed to call it done since there was a deadline. I think my whole process of copying references this close is flawed in the first place (no real understanding of anatomy) so after the class I wouldn't even attempt something like this before I get a lot more studying done. But since I had started this before the class, I felt obliged to finish it to the best of my current ability. Not totally beginner level I guess, but a lot of (fundamental) problems still. Yeah, let this piece rest in peace for now.
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Old 02 February 2013   #9
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