View Full Version : Onlookers

08-20-2013, 05:15 PM
Hurray! We can post again.....thanks to the WC team! Hope the nightmare is now sorted.

This is a fun piece I finished today, from a photo I took on a plein air painting session with a local art society.

It's A3ish on canson touch (not my favourite but I've nearly got rid of it all now :D ).

Tips please on how to loosen up some more. I thought I had but this ended up looking "just like the photo". I've tried taking off my glasses so I cannot see detail but somehow it doesn't
always work!

C&C welcome.


08-20-2013, 05:35 PM
Ruthie, I didn't know cows were interested in art, but those two definitely are. Hilarious! Perhaps you could go wilder with the colours, use blue and purple on the cows and orange and yellow for the grass? Then it wouldn't 'look like a photo'.

water girl
08-20-2013, 05:38 PM
Dorothea makes a good point. Play around with some bold color. As for style, don't fight it. It's your style for a good reason.:) This Painting put a smile on my face! Clever!

08-20-2013, 06:10 PM
This is great. What a story!

Kathryn Wilson
08-20-2013, 07:18 PM
Ruthie - this is hilarious! Did the painter know they were there?

Don't fight your style - if you want to be looser, try to do an abstract of an existing painting. You won't have to worry about comp as you've already figured it out. Just let the paint fly and see if you like it.

Equus Art
08-20-2013, 07:25 PM
Oh, how fun! I hope they aren't art critics!

Ruthie, I struggle also with trying to loosen up my style and it can be very frustrating at times. My art teacher in school TAPED a piece of vine charcoal to one of my fingers and had me doing 3 minutes sketches without breaking the charcoal. Talk about wanting to bang my head on the easel! I've finally decided my style is what it is, but taking my glasses off does help a little.

Its lovely!


08-20-2013, 09:40 PM
Ruth, this is great! In my opinion, this is not "tight" at all. Lots of areas are handles boldly without detail. The reason it "looks" like a "photo" is because you always handle color and values so perfectly. So it looks totally realistic even without tight detailing. So, unless you want looser to equal less realistic, I wouldn't even consider changing your style!


08-20-2013, 11:11 PM
Looks painterly enough to me - what a great reference!


08-21-2013, 03:41 AM
Dorothea, thank you! I hear what you're saying. In fact the darks in the Bullocks are made up of dark green as a base, with dark blue, violet and red violet in there too. Doesn't show up in the photo. I used some oranges in the grass too and I have, in fact, added more to the front section to give it a more sunny feel. Still looks green though!

Karen, Thank you! It was fun to paint that's for sure!

Thanks Ron!

Kathryn, Thank you! yes, he knew they were there. They weren't actually that close to him but I moved them up a little so they could see better :D Thanks for the suggestion, maybe I'll try that.

Cat, Thanks! Now that's cruel...with the taping charcoal to the finger thing. I do try to go happily along with my natural style and I do work much looser than I used to. It's a long process perhaps, rather than an immediate thing.

Don, Thank you! I just get disconcerted when I stand back and see the ref and the painting together. Hard to tell the difference sometimes, although I know that I haven't been tight with the detail.

Nicole, Thanks! Yes, it was a good opportunity and I knew when I took it I had to paint it. A little later he was so surrounded by them that we couldn't even see him! Brave man....or foolish!

08-21-2013, 04:28 AM
I could't help but to LOL. I grew up on a farm. and I could sooo imagine caws doing something like that. they can be quite curious creatures. :)

08-21-2013, 04:55 AM
JD, glad it gave you a chuckle! Yes, they were curious. They had a huge area of common land to roam on but, when we appeared, they all came over. I was going to paint out there too but, well, they are so BIG!!! Youngsters too, so one never knows what they may do. So I escaped back over the cattle grid into the garden!

08-21-2013, 05:41 AM
Amendment.....should have said thanks Randy!! Sorry about that. Not good with names....ask Dirk!

08-21-2013, 05:44 AM
love this! cows are so curious! love the shadows

Sarah Rose
08-21-2013, 10:06 AM
So fun! I am no where near your level. So have nothing useful to contribute re: looser work

08-21-2013, 11:04 AM
Very nice Ruthie! Love the story line. Looks good as is. You could try doing another painting to get a looser look. Try painting from this painting instead of the photo which likely shows more detail.

08-21-2013, 12:03 PM
Ruthie, the best advice I ever got was from a well known Artist in the late 60's. Was to have a couple of double shots of scotch before I started to paint, and then I would get real loose. It must have worked for him, he threw a bunch of his paintings off a mountain in Arizona. Bill

08-21-2013, 04:43 PM
Thank you Mary and SarahRose!

Mark, thanks, I may try that.

Bill, I HATE Scotch!!! Mind you I could try with red wine, no glasses and a tiny photo.......:D

08-21-2013, 04:51 PM

remember Don's Spotlight thread about edges ,
and another about values ?
- the black/white markings of the cows , and the fact that they are in profile
is most challenging within the soft pastoral setting .

the closer cow ( to the viewer ) appears to be looking at the painter , yet ,
the blue tint in the white markings of the further cow works quite well with the b/g , especially the sky , and the artist in shade ...
- the angle of the head seems that it's focus is something closer than the painter
and off the right edge of the picture .
- being the larger of the heads might have something to do with that... ( ? )

a quick fix might be to extend the front edge of shadow a bit more toward the bottom of the painting
so that all the figures are in that shadow/temperature band , then ,
roughly isolate that area with strips of grayish paper ( you can make them easily enough ) above and below
= much easier to focus on the nuances within that shadowed area .

just a thought .

your rendering of the easel in the shadow is just right !


08-21-2013, 06:11 PM
Love it! I agree, so pleased WC is up and running. Pam:wave:

Charles Perera
08-21-2013, 06:16 PM
It is very attractive, and amusing.


08-21-2013, 07:01 PM
Love this painting, how cute and a fitting title.


08-21-2013, 11:39 PM
Great painting Ruthie, I love the whimsical subject! I can't believe that actually happened, I don't know what I would do! As for loosening up, it is hard to fight your natural style. And.... your style is great anyway, why fix what isn't broken? If you really want to work on it though, something I do when I want to loosen up is to think about edges, lost and found. I think your style is great though, your work is beautiful! No need to change a thing!

08-22-2013, 03:22 PM
Thanks for your thoughts Ed!

Thank you Pam, Charles and Trudi!

Chris, Thank you. Oh yes, it really happened. Bullocks are very curious. The guy was completely surrounded by them at one point! Thanks for the reminder about style. I know I'm always going on about it because I often visualise something and then cannot make it happen! I will try to concentrate on developing my natural style instead of fighting it....I promise!

08-24-2013, 10:52 PM
Ruthie, just got back online after the Gremlins and just caught you at the bottom of the page. I love it,but I think I would be like you and hang back from the big animals! I think you have wonderful style and use colour so well and this is a great example. Just gave me a big smile. I really like the way you do grasses.

08-27-2013, 03:09 PM
Aw, thanks Jen!