View Full Version : Cupid and Psyche as children...

04-16-2013, 04:15 PM
Bum icon - It's not remotely rude...but just in case.
This started off as a freehand drawing exercise because I'm trying to learn to draw, and then I decided to try painting it...but it's also 16x12 which feels HUGE compared to my normal 10 x7...and things are starting to get scruffy, basically. For how i paint, I like things to look ok up close too...and at the moment this sure doesn't, and it may never do so. I know I can 'clean some things up' with further washes and neatening up edges etc, I've working from top down because it's so big to me....I'm just wondering if moving from small to bigger is always like this?....and of course and comments and clear errors re this painting I'm happy to hear..thanks for looking, grateful for comments (I didn't underpaint which I usually do.....this was not thought through before starting...I didn't realise how big the transition would be, so I'm hopeful of being better armed next time, with any advice you can give re size transition?)
it's from this ref by Bouguereau :

and where I am now:

04-16-2013, 04:35 PM
Well, you are a fast learner!

Looking very good already.


04-16-2013, 05:03 PM
Wow you are making a fantastic painting

04-16-2013, 06:30 PM
Wow! is all I can say :)

Devoted 2Art
04-17-2013, 12:47 AM
I am with Lynn & Margareth on this one... WOW! Great start!

04-17-2013, 12:29 PM
Thank you for your kind comments which I really appreciate...from a distance of a few feet it doesn't look too bad, but it's uneven up close which may or may not be redeemable at this stage, and I think is sort of essential for this image....I've kind of lost heart at the moment, hence the posting.

Advice if anyone can, I'd be grateful: for this size of painting 16"x 14" - what size of brushes would be 'sensible'?(I suspect I've been using too small - because it's what I have, and have previously used for my smaller things).. Lack of planning or what *sigh*.

Devoted 2Art
04-18-2013, 02:12 AM
Hi Suzanne... I don't know if I can be any help but I will try. I've got a ton of different brushes but when painting skin tones in larger areas I usually will use a DaVinci #6 Harbin Kolinsky sable. I prefer it to the W&N series 7 which I use often also for other things. The W&N seems to blot a bit more than the DaVinci. The DaVinci seems to release the paint more uniformly for skin tones. I also use it for most background washes.

For smaller areas of skin I usually use the Faux Kolinsky by Dynasty. They are fairly inexpensive for a Kolinsky & hold a good amount of paint with a very accurate point. They last a long time and take a real beating. The only thing about them is the handle will chip & fall off long before the brush wears out.

I was afraid to use really good brushes out of fear of ruining them. Once I started using them - my work really improved.

I don't know if this will help you at all but I think using the best brushes you can afford will be a big plus.

Since you're using watercolor - I don't know if my techniques for achieving smooth skin will help since I use a lot of white to tint and blend. In any case I do think brushes will help.

Best of luck & success!

04-18-2013, 04:59 AM
John, thanks so much for taking the time...I'm using the W&N Sceptre gold(sold along the road), and mostly I think was using about the same size as you're saying.....so sadly it looks like while maybe some will be the brushes it's mostly just my lack of technique for this 'larger than usual' skin area!:lol:
It took me a while to grasp the patience needed to get a better result in the smaller surface area, so lookslike I'm just going to have to bite the bullet and learn MORE patience for a bigger size!
I'll see what I can do with this now, with that in mind - it'll be a learning exercise in itself if nothing else...:rolleyes:
Thanks so much for your help, appreciate it!

04-18-2013, 08:55 AM
Wow...you are doing a fantastic job on this, lovely skin tones and wow the hair is already fabulous!

M.L. Schaefer
04-18-2013, 05:54 PM
Suzanne, this is looking gorgeous! Remember to leave enough contrast between the white clouds and the sky...It certainly looks like you are having an easier transition moving from small to large! (a bit of envy here)! I did plan ahead for working larger, bought beautiful large brushes, BUT not as large as could have/shouldhave! Now I'm pinching the coins for a 14 (?)

Oh, John...I bought the most beautiful retro sable, wonderful point...oh, my goodness. But being older, the paint chipped a bit on the handle. My other large brush is pristine and no problems. What I did was use some black acrylic and painted the brush handle so that no more chipping would occur. It works like a charm!

:heart: Margarete

04-18-2013, 09:01 PM
Hi Suzanne... You've done a great job of this so far.

Recently I bought a couple of faux squirrel brushes. They're nearly as soft as natural hair but with a bit of snap typical in synthetics... Using a large enough brush is important to your washes... If you seem to be making a lot of stroking motions, then your brush just might be too small. It will also tend to make your painting look overworked.

One other comment is that I tend to add a little white to my skin tone mixes as a matter of course. I think that skin really isn't transparent and the white seems to add a little *body* to it... :)

04-19-2013, 04:17 AM
Darla, Margarete, Char - thanks all so much for your time and help.
I've done a lot of looking and thinking (but no painting yet!) with this.
Char I think you've probably hit the nail on the head...and maybe adding a little white may help disguise things a little too, had never even thought of doing that...(or maybe it won't disguise anything, but can only try!). I usually underpaint, glaze with different washes, then detail....and get the sort of skin finish I want - SO wish I had underpainted, but hindsight's a wonderful thing *sigh*.
Whatever I do I will do with bigger brushes though! many thanks to you all for the tips with them....

04-19-2013, 05:10 AM
This is excellent! Painting as well as drawing. For painting 12x16 size (a good size paper, by the way) I would use an round pointed approx. 6 or 8 for most of it and a good pointed round approx size 4 for the facial and hand features - anywhere you need to be very precise in a small area. (eyes, mouth, fingers, etc.)

04-19-2013, 02:30 PM
Bouguereau is one of my favorites! Nice to see this WIP. It's progressing well and am sure it will be terrific when finished! Looking forward to the updates.

04-20-2013, 11:23 AM
Kiran - thanks for your comments ( and your figure work is lovely!)...it wasn't so much meant as a WIP as an 'aaarrgh'..which has sort of continued,sadly.
It's as cleaned up as it's going to get, am not proud of it but will post for the sake of completion as any more fiddling will just increase the murk. (It's not as yellow as it looks here for some reason - but can't adjust the image.)
I am pleased with Cupid's hair, and that I managed to get most muscles and bones where they should be, like the hint of his ribs, and i drew it from a small ref......it's ok overall from about 3 feet away....maybe I should stick it to my high ceiling and pretend I live in the Sistine chapel :wink2: ...it won't be going anywhere else!
Thanks for all your help ...next time: PLANNING :angel:


04-20-2013, 11:25 AM
Nut Suzanne you should be proud of it. It is wonderful.


04-21-2013, 02:45 AM
Thanks Doug... you're very kind!

Nut Suzanne :angel: :lol:

04-22-2013, 03:52 PM
Great finish! Capturing all those nuances of the body , especially with tender bodies of children, is quite a challenging with a medium like watercolor. You have done a great job in the face of such challenges. Yes, stick it up on the ceiling and enjoy it.

05-03-2013, 01:57 AM
Well done :thumbsup: