Storm Comin' -- WIP

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  09 September 2006
Storm Comin' -- WIP

Hi, everyone. I've actually been a member here for a couple of years already, but this is my first post to the forums (insert chicken noise here). But as a very good friend pointed out to me, you don't get the reward without the risk. In other words, bite the bullet and do the thing that intimidates you -- if you want to improve your skills. And I do, BADLY. But it became very easy for awhile to stay stuck in a comfort zone, and then, after too long of that, it became impossible to stay stuck there, because I would look through the work here and wish I could be doing it... Wishing gets tiresome after awhile without action.

So here I am.

This is not a new piece really, I did it a year ago, and at that time I was sure it was finished.

Well, it's not, and that's why I'm posting it here. The major flaws I see in it are the proverbial "being stuck in midrange tonal values" dilemma, an undertextured garment in her jacket, underblended parts in the paint (particularly in the shadows), and perhaps not enough colour (which might be a consequence of the tonal values problem I already mentioned).

The BEST part of this is the face, I think. I'm rather proud of the detail I achieved with that, and the hands are pretty decent too, though not as detailed as the face.

I've attached my painting here plus the small black and white photo I used as reference (which I'd found at an American History site). Please note I did not trace or grid any portion of this. My drawing and painting was done all freehand, while looking at the small reference photo (which is apparent in the form differences between the two figures).

Looking forward to your feedback, and to learning from the great artists here.

Thanks so much.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg stormcomin.jpg (93.1 KB, 64 views)
File Type: jpg slaveREF.jpg (13.4 KB, 35 views)
Jessie :O)

Last edited by Ferguson : 10 October 2006 at 09:08 AM. Reason: Needed to add more text
  09 September 2006
Hi! I am not a great artist that you are looking for to make comments but allow me to chip in... who knows it might help.
I think the painting is very nice and it has a very good mood. What seems off to me is the absolute black you have used to render the dark shadows. I'd suggest you blend it with the surrounding colours and make it softer. Moreover I discern a blurry movement in your strokes from the top of the rod and downward raidiating outward. Though at first it seemed to me a "qucky job" I then realised it adds to the intesity of the "comming storm"... everything will be blurry and shaky when the storm comes. Was this intentional? Hope I helped out abit.
  09 September 2006
Conkrys, thank you for your comments. You're so right about the extreme black... I have to admit I struggle a bit with colours too, so I'll take that into consideration when I go back to work on this.

And no, the blurriness on the broomstick wasn't intentional. So more work needs to be done there too.

Thanks again. And apologies, I didn't intend my remarks to mean "I only want to hear from the GREAT ones," since my definition doesn't distinguish between the seasoned professionals who post here and the relatively new artists (and anyone in between). All of them, in my eyes, have been posting longer than I have and so have something from which I can learn. Even those who don't post but who have a great critical eye could be very valuable teachers to me. I've looked at CGTalk, for quite some time, as a place to which I aspire. Hope this clarifies things.
Jessie :O)

Last edited by Ferguson : 09 September 2006 at 09:03 AM. Reason: Fixing typos
  09 September 2006

No worries! I know your intentions were not to degrade anyone... I was just telling it as it is about myslef... that I am not a great artist.
  09 September 2006
Hey Jess. Well first I want to say that I'm proud of you for taking the first step. I know how hard this is for you as it was for me. It's sometimes hard to take the crits, but soon you learn that it's for the best and down the road you'll see how much your work has improved. The people here seem like they have the best intentions in mind and love seeing an artist grow. I've seen you grow already and now the world is yours for the taking. Don't get discouraged and just let things happen and be open to all the possibilities. I'm in there with you and I believe we can do it.

As for the image, I do agree about the blacks. Believe it or not Jess...I'm quite horrible with colors as well and I know how tough it is to get all the different values right. I think I may take a color theory class or something like that to help me. Nonetheless this was one of my favorites from you. Such a classic photo with a long story behind it. I'm glad you shared the ref photo as just shows that you DO have it in you and I for one look forward to being along for the ride.
Much hugs.
  09 September 2006
Thanks so much, Mel. You have inspired me from day one, and continue to do so, and really if it wasn't for you I may not have bit the bullet to post here.

Oh I hear you on the colour theory thing. I mean, I know what complementary colours are and such, but... I get confused and feel I struggle to "get it," so I'd love nothing more than to have a colour theory class too, or at the very least some really in-depth tutorials to follow so I can absorb it.

I totally agree about the blacks here. I have some ideas on how to proceed with this, including changing the background because I believe I got lazy on that, and with most of the image, really. Once I get to a certain point, and I've struggled or I feel overwhelmed, I want to rush it just to get it over with.

Again, Mel, thanks so much!! I will look forward to your next works.
Jessie :O)
  10 October 2006
you have a really nice image going there. i don't think you should change the background. just improve on it instead. it's already looking great.

i'm wondering what color you're using for the highlights on the skin though?... it seems to grey out your flesh tones and you're loosing some saturation in those areas.

hope to see more updates.
I am a Work In Progress
Have a go at my anatomy... no not... ahh forget it...
My Blog -> Dawn of Twilight
  10 October 2006
I agree about the highlights, I always thought that they washed things out too. It was a light blue, but an almost desaturated one, and I think what I should have done is maybe used a much more saturated light blue for the highlights??

About the background... well but I had some different ideas other than JUST the clouds... like maybe a plantation house in the background, or a lynch tree, to be more in line with the tradition of where that photo came from in the first place. But I'm still thinking about this.

Thanks so much for your comments!
Jessie :O)
  10 October 2006
The pic has a nice feel to it and lots of potential; aside from the comments already posted I think to move it forward you should just try pinning down some of the areas and add a little more structure, especially in the clothing. In the photo ref there are some nice folds in the fabrics and I think working some of these in would enhance the image and go a long way towards fixing the 'mid range tonal values dilemma'. Also it would help to pick out the direction of the light a bit more as well.

Nice work though, I'll keep my eye out for updates, and I hope my comments help in some way.

  10 October 2006
South paw, yes definitely your comments are a help and I am taking them to heart. I knew the jacket sucked and needed more detail and texture, so I will be working on that... and as for the lighting. That's partly why I wasn't happy with the background, because the lighting wasn't defined enough, so... back to the "drawing" board, hehe.

Like I mentioned in the initial post, this painting is from a year ago and the distance since has really given me a fresh perspective. Hopefully in a year I've learned a few more things from osmosis, lol
Thanks so much for your input, I really appreciate it.
Jessie :O)
  10 October 2006
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