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  10 October 2013
Back in Digital.

I had taken a long break from digital to sharpen up my oil painting,but i just can not stay away from my wacom tablet.I have been trying to spend more time with my work,i did this to practisce,any comments or critiques are appreciated,thanks in advance.
"God is in the details"
  10 October 2013
What were you trying to practice with this exactly?

When I look at this at this painting, I wonder what it's purpose was. There is no real narrative, just stuff happening - an owl on her hand, funny eyes, pulling her sword out of her scabbard, orange light, clouds, blue light, spiky trees. It feels like you have made these decisions arbitrarily, for the sake of just putting stuff in the painting. I can't tell what mood you meant to evoke, what kind of character this woman is, what her relationship with the owl is, or what kind of story is being told here. I know that when you want to paint, sometimes, you just want to sit and render the hell out of skin or scales or armor or something, but you should paint with a purpose.
  10 October 2013
You must've breathed a sigh of relief when you returned to digital, eh? Oil is much harder to handle, although it's far more fun and tactile, and it smells great too. If you are serious about oils, I highly recommend you get Richard Schmid's Alla Prima II book--it just came out, and expands upon the first version with lots of new content. It is hands down one of the best books on the planet about oil painting and just art education in general. Schmid is arguably the greatest living painter alive right now, so you'd be learning from one of the best painters.

I'm a huge advocate of visual storytelling, so Anaxa's critique mirrors what I felt as well. As a visual storyteller, you have to know what your character's motivations are, and why they are doing what they're doing in the scene. What would be the reason she's pulled her sword out of the scabbard? Who is she, where is she, and why is she there? What's her relationship with that owl-like bird?

I always tell my students that as soon as they decide to depict a scene in their image, or convey any kind of emotion or mood, they have to stop thinking of themselves as just someone who makes pretty pictures, and must start to think like a storyteller using visuals to communicate stories, ideas, emotions, etc. Think more like a movie director and "direct" your "actors" in your scene, so they are doing what you want them to do, according to the "screenplay" of your visual story. And then your "cinematographer" would light the scene exactly how you want it look.

As for the artistic aspects, her face looks too harsh and unnatural. You do have some understanding of facial structure, but your aesthetic sensibility needs a lot of work. One of the most common problems for some artists is to render shapes only thinking about technical considerations instead of also paying attention to aesthetic sensibility. This is why we often see artists who can draw/paint pretty well, but the people in their artworks all look really hideous and unnatural, without any aesthetic considerations. They'd accentuate parts of the features that shouldn't be accentuated, and treat every detail on the face with equal importance instead of selectively detail, or knowing what to accentuate, and what to soften to create the most compelling aesthetic effect.

On faces (and in particular female faces), you want to avoid accentuating the wings of the nose, the philtrum, or the outline of the lips, and you happened to have accentuated all three in your painting.

If you study painters like John Singer Sargent, Anders Zorn, Daniel Gerhartz, Pino Daeni, Morgan Weistling, etc, you'll see how they artfully accentuate/soften areas of the face to create a much more aesthetically pleasing result. And if you prefer artists who render more tightly, look at William Bouguereau, J.W. Waterhouse, Lord Leighton, Alma-Tadema, Herbert Draper, etc.

Also, it's obvious from looking at that face that you didn't base is on one reference, and probably tried to construct it based on anatomy lessons or various photo references. So while structurally it kind of looks okay (although the the transition from eye socket to cheek looks too drastic), it lacks the natural verity of a person. I suggest you shoot your own photo reference using family/friends and household lights to light it exactly as how you want it to look. And if you are proficient with 3D, you can find/create a quality 3D head and use it as reference.

The hair needs to look a bit more coherent. Right now, you have all the thick strands separating too much from each other, creating this mop-like feel. Fill in the dark values between each of the thick strands a bit will help a lot.

You have a tangent problem with her right forearm. See how it's contour edge touches the contour edge of the tree? That's always a bad thing, when two objects share the same edge. It decreases the readability of both contours, and it also decreases the hierarchy of the Z-depth, because we don't see a clear overlap of foreground/background. In this case, at least the forearm is of a much lighter value than the tree, so it's not as bad as it could have been. Still, you want to always avoid tangents in your composition.
  10 October 2013
Anaxa,thanks for your comments,and you are right i was just putting things down as they came to mind,my mistake was only to focus on building patience by painting for hours on time i will try to keep your comments in mind.
Lunatique,it is a relief but mostly because of the (mess free) environment of digital painting,i love oils and will look into getting that book thanks for the book recommendation and all the painters to look into. Your critiques are always on point and very helpful,thanks for taking the time to write them,i will do all that i can to improve my storytelling,thank you both.
"God is in the details"
  10 October 2013
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