View Full Version : 2 new ones...still life jars and a portrait

10-17-2013, 11:16 PM
Hi all,

This one is about 9 x 13 on black Canson Touch. I wanted to try some glass as it always amazes me when I see other peoples work. So, here's my attempt. Many pastels used as well as carbothello pencils...C & C welcome...http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/17-Oct-2013/1174506-jars.jpg

This one was just a lark. I did it as a drawing exercise after reading William L. Maughan's Book "Drawing the Head" that Jackie recommended. Great book. 9 x 11 on Strathmore pastel paper. 2 pencils. 1 red, 1 white. C & C welcome here too!!


10-18-2013, 12:29 PM
Very nice! I think those glass jars are very successful! The 3-dimensional appearance of the writing is very nicely done!

The portrait is a good example of using light and shadow to show form! The only thing I would look at is the angle of the nose. Since the head is slightly angled, the tip of the nose might need to move to the right (our right) a bit! But since it is only an exercise - it matters little!


10-18-2013, 03:25 PM
agree with Don about the portrait ,
and looking more closely ,
the nose broadens rather than narrows going up to the ' bridge '
- looks un-natural .

the still life is luscious ! - colour saturation/close value , and detail of the objects .
> the perspective of the jar on it's side needs further consideration ;
the mouth of the jar is most difficult , and you have painted it just right , so ,
adjusting the body of the jar to the centerline of the mouth is needed .
- the upright jar is a reference of shape .

the jars have two different sized cylinders ; the mouth and the body ,
and the curve of the neck which connects them .

it would be easiest to use the jar , or jar of similar shape ,
and position it in front of you so that what you see matches the the jar mouth ,
and then work from there .

the fabric/folds as a background are excellent !


10-18-2013, 04:15 PM
These are lovely. I immediately noticed the reflections on the jars and how beautifully done they are. And the writing is great as well!

10-18-2013, 04:34 PM
Very nice. I bet those mason jars were not easy to do but you achieved a nice painting. Pam:wave:

10-18-2013, 07:06 PM
Don - you are correct. Now that I look at it, it's so obvious. Thank you.
I really liked working only the shadow areas and letting the features and likeness appear.

Ed. Thank you. I'm not sure I understand your thoughts on the jar on its side. I see a problem with large jar shape. I agree completely.

Thank you Pam and Christina!!

10-18-2013, 07:49 PM
Great work on the jars and reflections, love the use of colours in it.
Like how you have used light & shadow to form the face.

Moises Menendez
10-19-2013, 10:19 AM
Good composition.

10-19-2013, 03:59 PM
yes , as to the upright jar , the outline of the lrft and right edges do not match .

as to the jar on it's side , if it's okay with you , i'll post some rough sketches
to illustrate .


10-19-2013, 10:28 PM
Sure, I'd appreciate any advice you'd want to give.
Thank you

10-19-2013, 11:33 PM
Lovely still life and interesting portrait!

LOve the way you rendered the blue glass and your ellipses are gorgeous. You mentioned you weren't happy with the shape of the large jar. I looked close and it's that the mouth is slightly off center - the left side it's a little farther to the edge, the right side it's closer to the edge. Mouth should be centered on the jar.

These are measurement problems on both jars and the nose, things that could be corrected with a bit of care or noted, and in the next paintings work on accurate measuring for proportions. Gridding, tic marks, or measuring by holding a ruler or pencil at arm's length working on something from life could help. When doing a still life from life, that kind of change can happen easily by not standing in exactly the same spot. You do the mouth while you're standing one place and the side when you moved over an inch to the right, and you get that result. It was accurate to what you saw but your eyes weren't in the same place.

One way to deal with that is to put something under your feet and when you start working on it, decide your point of view for the painting, stop and quickly swipe around your shoes on the paper. If you put your feet into the same spots every time, then "moving around errors" are less likely.

I don't know if you were working from life or photo but these are both very advanced, there's my thoughts on one possible preventive if you do life painting for your still lifes. Also if you take a reference photo from your setup and return to it, chalking around your feet is a good way to keep your head in the same place in relation to it on the second day's work.

That plum is so lush. The glass rendering and reflections are spectacular. The rich blue-glass color is wonderful. I want to play with those jars and I could almost taste the plum. It's wonderful. The portrait sketch is fun but that still life is glorious. You handle both color and value beautifully.

Hmm... emotional reaction - the portrait is pretty powerful in its own way. One more look and I realized that he reminded me of someone I don't like much, some of why I didn't like it as much was intense reaction to it. All to the good - you rendered him well except the nose issues and I didn't notice them at first glance, I was looking at mouth expression and eyes and feeling some tickle of memory of someone whose name I don't even remember but I didn't like him. Not even a very clear memory of why.

10-20-2013, 12:40 AM

Thank you so much for your kind words and advice. I am very proud of the still life. It turned out better than I thought I was capable of doing at this stage. I painted it from a photo of a still life I set up. My son's name is Mason so when those 100th anniversary blue jars came out, my wife went crazy and bought a boatload of them. I thought the color was just stunning.

If it makes any difference to you, the portrait is from an old B&W photo of Paul Newman. (Early 60's I'm guessing). Unless of course it's Paul you don't like!
Again, thank you. I get much encouragement here on the WC and it really helps.

10-20-2013, 05:36 PM

sorry to be tardy . :rolleyes:
> i'm dredging up my recollection of old-school drafting and trying it freehand ;
the method is very mechanical , and perhaps tedious .
but once the fundamental sinks in ,
you can take it wherever you want to go .

if you have an opaque jar/pill bottle/whatever ,
it will be easier to observe the geometry , compared to glass .

... will return .


10-22-2013, 12:07 AM
Ok Ed. Waiting...

Jo Castillo
10-22-2013, 01:03 AM
This made me smile, I recognized Paul Newman right away and thought, "No, wouldn't be him!" Ha. I love the jars and fruit. Nice work.

10-22-2013, 11:10 AM
- had to re-size the photo ...


so , the outline/elevation of the jar is in the right corner ,
below it is a guess of the mouth tilted forward about 30 degrees ,
to the left is a post-it with a circle and horizontal/vertical centerlines ,
and above that a cylinder in 3D with centerlines .

note that on the post-it , the lower half is slightly wider than the top half ,
and the circle looks like an ellipse ,
but in order to draw a mechanical of what you see
on a new piece of paper ,
you need to add another horizontal below it to slightly change/flatten the arc of the upper half of the ellipse .
( this is adapting the old woodshop technique of drawing an ellipse on a piece of wood ) .

i don't know cad-cam drafting , or the trigonometry involved .

- just some odd bit of info ...


ps. the hor/vert. intersection on the 3D cylinder should be more to the right ... :rolleyes:

10-23-2013, 03:33 AM

Thank you for going to the trouble. What you have shown is clear(very subtle) but clear as to the elliptical shape of the post it. But on the 3D cylinder, I honestly see no difference. Is it my eyes? Or is it just so minute,I am not perceiving it?

10-23-2013, 09:27 AM
There is a big difference between the two. I haven't read the entire thread so I don't know how this is being applied to the painting (no time to read the whole thing right now...). The two sketches here are, however quite different. Look at the angle of the lines coming off the top and bottom of the front circle. That changes the view of the cylinder. The upper one looks a bit skewed, twisting slightly. It almost appears as if the front circle is laying back a bit, weird. The lower one looks more accurate. Hope that helps.

10-23-2013, 10:48 AM
Yes Chris,
I see the difference in the two cylinders as well. But, like you, I'm having trouble understanding how it relates to the painting.
Here's the ref. pic.


10-23-2013, 03:49 PM
Matt , Chris , you are both right . :D
> just goes to show how your keen eyes pick up those things
( especially when there is some means of comparison ( hint ) ) .

below is a pix of the rough sketch and the post-it ( 3" square ) face-on .
the centerlines on the post-it were easily found/marked using a ruled straightedge .

vine charcoal was used for the rough sketch ( it's very forgiving w. paper ) ,
and adjusted/corrected with a kneaded eraser .
( which can drive a person squirrel-nuts ! )

all of this to describe/illustrate some tech ref when the 3D thing doesn't seem right to the eye ...

Matt - your painting compared to the ref pix looks excellent .
> my guess is that the ref pix was taken fairly close ( 6-8 feet ? )
and the eyeline is the screwtop of the vertical jar .
because of that , there is some lens/format distortion of the 3D jar
which messes with it's shape and foreshortening .
>> a lens setting less than 52-55mm , whether hard or digital , creates a distortion .
( the extreme is the ' fisheye ' effect . )


10-23-2013, 04:00 PM
hmmm , let's try the download again .
- if it doesn't take , some housecleaning is needed ... :rolleyes:


10-23-2013, 04:06 PM


ah , here it is .

10-23-2013, 06:04 PM
I think what Ed is saying is to check your drawing of the jar laying down. It should be laid out somewhat like the sketch he posted, sort of using that basic shape and the approach he recommends as your guide to get the jar properly drawn. If you use some tracing paper (lay it over the painting) and draw out the cylinder over your existing painting, it should tell you where you are off.

10-23-2013, 09:51 PM
Ed and Chris,

Thank you for taking the time to explain something that must be rudimentary to you both. Perhaps because the jar in my painting is at a much more severe angle than Ed's drawing, I'm not seeing how the mouth of the jar on its side should be drawn differently. And further, I don't see in your sketch Ed, any elliptical shape or foreshortening to the mouth of the cylinder with the vert/horz/diag. lines. It looks like a circle to me.
Ok, having said that - I fully understand if you want to give on me!!

10-24-2013, 04:57 PM
your comment/observation is right again !
- my posts have been to write at this time about
what a person sees and what a person has been trained to reference
as an understandable picture .
( a connection to viewers/buyers as well ... )

is the jar-on-side smaller than the upright jar ?


10-24-2013, 09:00 PM
Yes, jar on side is about 2/3 the size of upright jar.