View Full Version : Watching an artist at work

01-29-2013, 05:09 PM
Oil painting 50x70 cm, ready for harsh critique. The painting is based on a real observation and is done according to a reference sketch.
The man at left should lean at the railing legs being crossed, but maybe he appears falling. What can I do? The artist was in my first try to stiff; I hope it is better now.
Time of day is late afternoon.
Do you see anything what can be improved? Thank you!

01-29-2013, 05:44 PM
He needs a leg to line up with his head to put him in balace. Forget about his crossed legs and put him in balance. Even if his legs were crossed he wouldn't be leaning back like you have him. Try standing with your legs crossed and see for yourself.

01-29-2013, 05:53 PM
because the legs are angled forward he is falling back
at least one weight bearing leg needs to be under him, even if it's coming towards us, foreshortened, it would be more under him.

nice softness of atmosphere

not a big deal, but i honestly cannot tell if the artist is male or female


01-29-2013, 06:16 PM
Nice painting tstellma. The warm glow on the railings and ground make it look very like the late afternoon as the sun goes down.As someone who struggles with figures, I think you have done a good job and I like the artist. I see what you mean about the leaning man! I think it is probably too late to rescue him except by painting in a shooting stick to support him!

Mike :wave: :D

01-29-2013, 07:53 PM
Where did the shadows go? I suggest you take a look at some railings in afternoon sun so you really see the shadow. They don't fade away, the entire object, which is solid, will have a shadow.
You may find it helpful to find physical references when doing your sketches (I use tons).
Your colors are beautiful & soft- I really like the soothing vibe of the work. Will look forward to seeing it's progress.

01-30-2013, 12:23 AM
I am glad others have commented on the gravity defying man on the left
I like the atmospherics in the work
The other person on the left also has some leg issues, the body position would indicate that the weight bearing leg is the left leg, but it is the right which is straight. The left leg being bent the way it is would indicate that it is longer than the straight leg when it itself is straightened.

01-30-2013, 03:37 PM
@ eyecandy, I thought I could make him leaning backwards (into the depth of the painting) so he will not fall, but the result is a mishap. Yes, I should try it for myself.

@La, I have to stabilize him, it looks awkward. The pullover of the artist was out of shape. It is a male; I should make him more recognizable.

@ rossmarie, but I want to save him! He will fall down and get injured at the frame.

@Andrew, you are right. I think the hips of the other person at the left should be (more) tilted.

Thank you all for helpful critiques.

I will improve the painting and show it again.

01-30-2013, 11:50 PM
Light that makes highlights create a color that's influenced by the color of the surface object. But in this, you've used the same color (perhaps even the same brush with the same paint) to create every light spot on each object. They all have a point of orange on them, probably because you figured it would make sense since the sky's light is the same orange color too. Take a closer look at how the sunlight--even sunset-colored sunlight--becomes a new color on each object that reflects it.

01-31-2013, 04:58 PM
@Matt, I painted more the light color than the local color. Maybe I exaggerated, maybe I should variegate the orange more, but some little orange would harmonize my painting.

Thanks for your comment!

01-31-2013, 05:41 PM
I really enjoy the atmosphere and color palette in your painting. It has a wonderful, colored airy-ness. The dirt ground is the most prominent color - which makes it a center point. Which is probably not what you want. But somehow this strong ground works for me, it sort of plays against all the airy-ness of the rest of the scene.

The artist and his/her painting look fine to me. I don't care if it is he or she.

The weird blue cone thing under the triangle shape in the easel looks off - not sure what it is.

Both figures on the left are off. Yes, guy is falling down. Additionally womans head is angled too far to the left. And her left leg is bent, but comes down as long as her right leg, which makes her left leg look off and way too long.

The railing curves up on both left and right. Looks like the fish-eye effect of a camera, as if you have painted from a camera photo reference without editing.

01-31-2013, 07:18 PM
I think the thing under the easel is the Artist's bag?

02-01-2013, 06:56 AM
It is the artistīs bag under the easel, a rucksack.
I also think that the orange in the foreground is too strong.
Her head should be tilted as she is looking to the artist.
The railing is not totally right when you compare the rectangles within the railing.
So much to look at!

The scenery was painted from a fugitive sketch, not from camera photo.

Thanks for commenting!

02-21-2013, 06:28 AM
A few words about balancing standing figures...
Find the "pit of the neck" at the top of your sternum, where your collarbones connect to it. If you bow your head forward like you are going to pray, your chin will hit your chest there. If you draw a vertical line straight down from "the pit of the neck", the line MUST pass between the two feet. If it does not, then the figure is falling over. You can try this by standing up, and leaning over without moving your feet. When that part of your body reaches beyond being between your feet, you fall over.

Decide what your drawing is about. Since it is not really about the way the couple is standing, I would suggest you make the legs of both figures go straight to the ground without all the odd posing.

In some cases, if you took a photograph of people standing like that, it may look odd but be believable because it is a photo. But if you DRAW it that way, people will not "buy it" and will assume you just did it wrong, even if you were to TRACE the drawing. So I would suggest you just use believable poses unless you really have a need not to.