painting practice

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  06 June 2013
painting practice

I started working on this copy a while ago but felt reluctant to post it because I can't recall the original artist's name. Maybe someone here knows.

Anyway this is what I have so far. My goal with this is to learn expressive brush work. I'm not really getting it yet. I was pretty far along when I realized my basic shapes and values were too far off so I've turned down the opacity on the first attempt and am doing a paint over. So far I've mainly worked on the girl.

I'm using the original as a pallet as I can't seem to match values yet.

  06 June 2013
And this is where I'm stopping on it tonight.

  06 June 2013
The artist is probably Daniel Gerhartz. (I have his book and it's awesome.)

You need to keep in mind that he works with real oil paints, and digital is not very good at emulating most traditional painting mediums. You can do a reasonable approximation with the right kind of brushes, but you can't expect it to look just like traditional oils--that's unrealistic.

A big part of achieving expressive brushwork that can pass for an approximation of traditional oil painting, is to use appropriate brushes. You have to spend the time to search for and experiment with various custom brushes and match them to the different characteristics of traditional oil brushwork. For example, use speckled brushes of various densities to emulate the bristle marks of oil painting. Use various texture brushes to emulate dry-brushing. You won't be able to emulate impasto very well, so don't bother (even Corel Painter can only do a barely decent job at it in terms of realism).

You need to be able to reproduce all edge types--from sharp, firm, soft, to lost edges. right now, your edges are all quite soft, lacking definition and a sense of conviction.

When you study other people's brushwork, don't just look at the brushstrokes themselves and the textures of the brushstrokes. You need to analyze WHY the artist use that kind of brushstroke to depict that patch of value/color, and how that patch conveys a shape, or a texture, or a plane, or a turn of form. One of the key points of brushwork is how you choose to depict a sense of form/volume/mass with each brushstroke. Very often each brushstroke represents one distinct plane in the form, and each successive brushstroke represents a turn to a different plane.

You also need to actually watch master painters paint to see how they make their choices, because you will learn FAR more from watching the process than simply looking at the finished work. I highly recommend you get Richard Schmid's painting demonstration DVD's--they are the very best I've ever seen, even among the top painters alive today (and I have shelves full of books and DVD's from various artists). He's widely considered the most accomplished and skilled painter alive today. His captain's portrait DVD is mind-blowing and will teach you SO much that you'll likely end up buying all his other DVD's (I own every single book and DVD from him, and they are all amazing).

BTW, in my workshop (linked in my signature), we spend an entire week on brushwork and line quality, and the assignments really push you out of your comfort zone and experiment with all kinds of different brushwork.

Last edited by Lunatique : 06 June 2013 at 02:34 AM.
  06 June 2013
Thanks for the insights. I've downloaded some custom oil paint brushes. So far I haven't gotten great results. But it's too early to tell if it's the short comings of these particular brushes or just my lack of skill.

I have one of Richard Schmid's books which I'm studying. Down the road I'll look into getting the dvds. For now I'll see what kind of painting tutorials I can find on youtub.

Edges continue to mystify and elude me. I have to make a more careful study of how edges are used in successful works. It's something I have never really considered when looking at paintings.

Perhaps at some point I will have an opportunity to take your class.
  06 June 2013
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