View Full Version : B&W Sweet Dreams

04-28-2003, 05:31 PM
I realize this is a watercolor forum and hence colors normally apply. Please critque the attached black and white, watercolor. The reference photo was in black and white as well. I wasn't brave enough to guess at the approximate skin tones (being color blind and all).

The painting is 5"x7" or 13cm x 18cm on 140# Strathmore (Rough). Your comments and critique are always most welcome.

Thank you.

04-28-2003, 05:37 PM
Oh, my McCab--how arresting this is!

I can just see this with a very light Permanent Rose wash over the whole thing!!!!

BTW, would you please upload your paintings, so that we may see them as we critique or comment on them? It makes it so much easier than when you attach them.:)


04-28-2003, 05:42 PM

Thanks for the advice, Lyn. I'll start uploading rather than attaching. I believe I read that there is a tutorial on uploading files in posts. Thanks again.

04-28-2003, 05:46 PM
Adorable and I am absolutely amazed that you could fit all that on a 5 x 7.

04-28-2003, 05:47 PM
Wow. This is a really strong and stunning piece.

I've uploaded it so that it is easy to refer to when others comment.


04-28-2003, 05:52 PM

Thanks for uploading the file, fun2cook. How did you upload the file? I am very new at posting (obviously). Thanks again!


04-28-2003, 06:01 PM
Painterbear helped me out a while ago, when I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to upload a pic. Here goes, hoping my instructions are as clear as hers...

1. Look up. Look way up to about 1.5" from the very top of this page.
2. See the button that says "uploader?" Click on that.
3. A new browser window will open.
4. Click on "browse..." This will open up a view of your pics on your computer's harddrive.
5. Choose the pic you wish to upload and click on that.
6. Click on "upload image."
7. You will now see a page that says "Image upload complete" and a form with a long url in it.
8. Double or triple click on this url until it is completely highlighted (some people hit "select all."
9. Copy the url.
10. Go back to your post and paste the long url (including the square brackets with "url" written in them into your post.
11. Submit your post.
12. Voila, you've just uploaded the first of what I hope are many images.


04-28-2003, 06:03 PM
Well if this isn't just absolutely priceless!!! I love babies. I love what you've done with this baby!!! I would like to see more monochromatic studies from you... :clap: :clap: :clap:

04-28-2003, 06:13 PM
What a beautiful compostion, you have the softness of the towels and the baby feel about the skin.....all with one colour.....Amazing!:clap:

The only things that stick out to me a little are the nose area, the nostrils look a little "piggy" I think because they are showing the same shade here as the bridge of the nose and therefore rolling into one another, maybe it's the scan? Also the ear looks a little low and a little too far back to me.

I agree with Artmom about the rose wash, just a light one would look beautiful on this piece!

04-28-2003, 07:23 PM
Mary-Ann thanks so much for the upload instructions, I will use this method in the future.

Lyn, about the light rose wash, in applying it to the entire painting, I am concerned the white towels will then turn pink. What if I applied the light rose to the baby only and a raw sierra to the floor for a more natural looking floor. The towels perhaps in the shaded areas could then stand a light blue wash for shadow. Please let me know what you think.

Uschi...Yup this is a 5x7 (paper conservationist, just kidding), I used a #8 flat for the dark background, a #2 flat for the broader washes on the baby, towels and floor. A #2 round was used for most of the detailed work.

Nitsa, I agree regarding the nose. I had a lot of problems with the mouth which unfortunately transfered to the nose. This is a rough surface which I probably won't use again for this type of painting. When I scrubbed (wet Q-tip) the surface to correct the mouth much of the fiber in the paper came up. You can see some of this in the upper thigh toward the non-shaded area.

Thanks again for your help!!!

04-28-2003, 07:39 PM
Yes, IMO those three washes in those particular areas would be just right.:D

If you decide to do a wash, please post an update.


04-28-2003, 08:47 PM
This is absolutely wonderful.

I love what you were able to acheive with just one color.

I love it.:clap: :clap:


I agree I wouldn't want the towels pink either.

04-28-2003, 08:51 PM
What a precious painting! :clap:

04-28-2003, 08:54 PM
Wow. this is great.

You are very good with watercolors. Just one thing I was wondering
"how did you get the background like that.?' so black & smooth.

04-28-2003, 09:32 PM
Very cute. ! Good job.

04-28-2003, 09:47 PM
McCab, this is truly a wonderful B&W study.

The baby does look soft and cuddly and the towels look fuzzy and warm. You have done your shading and shadows really great to my newbie eye.

I can't see any problem with the ear but I can see the problem with the nostrils (or nose) but don't have any experience to say how one would fix it.

Really really beautiful.

04-28-2003, 10:08 PM

Background took about three washes of black. In the "areas of danger" (where the feet and bottom meet, the ear to head) took extremely concentrated ink like consistency of black.


I took your advice and added washes of light red to the infant, cerulean blue to the towels and brunt sierra to the floor. Color does change thing quite bit!

Here's the painting with the muted washes of red, blue and brunt sierra. Thanks, Lyn!

Thank you all for your comments and critique!


04-28-2003, 10:30 PM
This is exactly what makes this forum so good!!! I didn't even notice the problem with the nostrils... I had to go back to look... Isn't it great that so many pairs of eyes can see things so differently? What you have done with the washes makes this a spectacular work. I'm so glad you used the suggestions!

Great Job....:clap:

04-28-2003, 10:40 PM
You're right Char the forum is an excellent place for feedback. Unfortunately I don't know how to fix the nostril problem. I thought the light red wash did mute it a bit but it is still there and noticeable. Any thoughts on corrective plastic surgery would be much appreciated. Thanks all!

04-28-2003, 11:11 PM
No, no, no... don't do any more to this! The nose is just fine! I didn't mean for you to try anything else! This is a beautiful painting of a beautiful little baby!

04-28-2003, 11:24 PM
McCab, I'm flattered that you took my suggestion. Thank you. I think that the soft washes bring a sort of life to it that the black and white, while striking, just did not have. Perhaps this is a way that you can add color to your work on your own. I guess I just felt that baby had to have some color to soften it!!!:D

The color brings out the grain in the wood extremely well, also.

I look forward to more postings.:)


04-29-2003, 01:53 AM

very good monocromatic studio, that improves for me with pale colors washes.. I like it..

BTW, the "butt" icon really bother me on this one :confused: :confused:

Sharon Douglas
04-29-2003, 02:34 AM
This painting is absolutely adorable.
I like both the black and white and the colour, maybe you could do another in the black and white and mount them both together, that would look interesting.

04-29-2003, 04:00 AM
Originally posted by Nitsa
What a beautiful compostion, you have the softness of the towels and the baby feel about the skin.....all with one colour.....!

I agree:clap: :clap: babies are so lovely, and this one on towels, so soft...!!!
ciao, rapolina.

04-29-2003, 08:45 AM
Oh WD.....I think the washes work very well and I agree they do mute the nostril area, it isn't jumping out at me anymore!
Lovely piece!

04-29-2003, 01:28 PM
This is such a wonderful painting. You have certainly captured the innocence of this baby. Such a little cutie!

04-29-2003, 02:54 PM
Char, Rapolina, Sharon, Anita and Carolyn thank you all for your comments!

Hector, thank you for your comment. I agree the washes softened the monochrome. Sorry for the subject icon, being new to posting I wasn't sure whether or not this icon applied to all "au natural" postings or just those to warn viewers that there is impending nudity in the post.

Thanks again all for your help. Especially, Lyn for your color wash suggestion, it made a siginifcant improvement in the finished piece!

04-29-2003, 02:56 PM
Adorable indeed !

Bill J
04-29-2003, 06:20 PM
the subject would be great even if it where a rough sketch.!
Your technique just makes the picture better. Skip you have got a homerun here-congratulations

04-29-2003, 06:28 PM
This is just priceless!! Talk about the meaning of soft.... you can't get softer than a baby's skin and a soft layer of towels. :) Did you just make this up in your head or were you inspired by a photo? I liked the plain black and white painting but the washes really add a nice touch to it. Very, very nice!! :clap: :clap: :clap:

04-29-2003, 06:43 PM
Gilberte (mille graci a lei) and Bill - Thank you for your kind comments. Bill you had me going there, the CEO of the former company I worked for is Bill Johnson! Thanks again.

Starsprite: Thank you for your kind comments. I find a lot of great material to work with on Webshots. This photo was from SuperStock Inc. A caution though, if you are selling your artwork and you use a download from Webshots, you will need to contact the photographer to find out what royalty fees are connected to the photo. I contacted Superstock to let them know I might be interested in selling my watercolor version of their photo. If I decide to keep this in my personal collection, there are no royalties (as per Superstock).

Thanks again all!

04-29-2003, 07:01 PM
very nice piece and subject matter. Even if the light is coming directly on from the back and down (as the front shadow suggests) - I'd like to see some darker areas on the table either on the left side - or IMHO - on the right would be better. I think this would ground the towels more - but still a nice piece indeed. jti