View Full Version : "Reflections"

05-03-2015, 01:59 PM
17 12" Mount Vision Pastel on Mi-Teintes touchpad.

Judy Manuche
05-03-2015, 10:54 PM
Hi, I like the colors. It looks like the vase behind it is actually sitting on top of the one in the front that is lying on it's side. I think the portion of the bigger vase needs to be darkened in the reflection part so that it will recede behind the vase in front of it. I hope I made that clear.

05-04-2015, 12:59 AM
Judy, thanks for looking. You are absolutely correct. I can't believe how flat that vase looks. I will work on getting the vase to recede. Also, I noticed a few other things. The bottom of the vase is lacking in form because of drawing. The dark line of the vase is connecting to the dark circle in the bottom of the tiny vase that is lying on its side. The ellipse at the top of the big vase is drawn incorrectly. A valuable lesson for anyone watching this is to NOT put your work on display the moment you think it is finished. Let it sit, at least until another painting or two is finished. This will give you a fresh perspective on the piece. If things look weird at that point, and you can't resolve it on your own, then put it out there for assistance. Otherwise, if it's truly finished then display it! :)

05-04-2015, 04:02 AM
George, there are a few things going on here with perspective problems. I noticed the same thing with your image with the chair in it.

I just wanted to ask you.... are you happy for distortions to appear in your paintings?

There is plenty of precedent for distortions in drawing - in the past, many artists deliberately tipped up tables, and drew things in an exaggerated way....they chose to do this, in order to present a different kind of viewpoint.

Now...if you are choosing to distort perspective, and draw elipses out of true, that's fine, and I will say nothing, because the choice is yours.

BUT if you are actually trying to get things right, and tripping up here and there so could do with a bit of help along the way, that is something totally else, and if you would like that help, I am happy to provide it.

You have commented on the lack of form in the big vase; the incorrect elipse at the top, and I can see quite a few other issues which could be sorted out once you see them...but I need you to direct me as to whether you want this help.

05-04-2015, 04:47 AM
Jackie, I would love your help. Almost as soon as I posted this for all the world to see, and after smiling when my grandmother said she loved the reflections, it came crashing down. The thing I am grateful for is the mistakes are fixable. How in the world did I not see that big, gaping, incorrectly drawn ellipse in the big vase? Aa much as I stared at the still life I could not see how to 'form' the vase. I did see the reflected colors from the surrounding objects, something I could not have done even six months ago. This painting, as well as the one with the chair in it, I am doing from my couch. The still life is sitting on the floor. So I am looking down at it, probably from a 45 degree angle, 90 degrees being the horizon. As much as I love the "likes" and the short "beautiful" responses that I occasionally get, I often feel that my work is incomplete. Maybe letting things sit until my perspective is freshened BEFORE posting the work? Again, thank you for looking out for me and the rest of us here at WC. I am always touched when you take the time to write at length and without prejudice in an effort to set someone on the path of straight and narrow.

05-05-2015, 07:48 AM
Bit short of time today but I will point out a few things.

1. if the still life is on the floor, then you are looking down at those elipses. THEY ALL NEED TO CURVE, not just the openings, but the bases too. Test this by holding a glass with the lip at your eye level. Then drop the glass down to your waist. See how you can see into the elipse of the top of the glass, but see also, and importantly, how the base curves too, even more than the top of the glass. Your elipses wil lbe even more exaggerated if you have placed these items on the floor.

The only elipse which is just a straight line across, is the elipse at eye level. All the other elipses are below eye level, to a gradually greater degree here:

2. Then, look at the tipped over flowerpot. Examine the base....see how it does not fit into the object properly, the pot is far too wide for that base to sit inside of it.

3. If you light a curving object from one side, you will be able to capture its form well, because the light will reveal the form. When the light is uniform, and from the front, it is much more difficult. However, as soon as you sort out the base of the big vase, it will help with the impression of the form.

4. You should always try to avoid objects "kissing" at their edges, see how your big vase, and the object beside it, kiss each other instead of overlap. Overlap is a much safer way to show what is in front and what is behind.

My recommendation, before you begin to add colour, is to ensure that your drawing is as accurate as possible. You have a good feel for colour, and clearly enjoy using your pastels, the technique and application of the pastels is confident and lively - but your drawing lets you down. Drawing is all about patience, and as much accuracy as possible. This means measuring, and adjusting, until the drawing is as good as you can get it. THEN you can let rip with the colour!

Hope this helps

05-05-2015, 07:52 AM
I am enjoying the ebbs and flows that come with growth. The journey is just as much fun as a completed piece. Maybe today I will be able to fix the things you pointed out. The first thing that will be fixed is the base of the tipped over flower pot. Then I will widen the top of the red vase, and widen the bpdy of the green vase. Afterwards I will change the ellipse on the green vase to reflect a side view.

Thank you, Jackie!

05-05-2015, 10:54 AM
George, I like the composition, the colors, the feel of this piece. You've gone a big leap in composition with it, the balance, size and shape of the arrangement is good. This one really works.

As for the Ellipse Problem, you are so not the only one. I've fought with them for years. So have a lot of us, maybe most representational artists. I eventually licked it but not without a ton of sketching and plenty of critiques on WC to help me sort it out. Not to mention half a dozen books and sundry videos. It's one of those things that doesn't come easy even when you know it in your head. Getting eyes to see it and then hands to do it is crazy making and that stage can last a LONG time!

My last suggestion after Jackie's applies not to this painting but the next. In your shoes I would start still life paintings and post the outline sketches in charcoal first before even adding color. Let people help with perspective while it's just a few charcoal lines that can be easily erased, moved and painted over. Save a lot of time an effort. Likewise sketching in a simple line on each object for its basic modeling shadow form - simplify even complex modeling shadows to one division that helps define light. Outline cast shadows.

Posting at that sketch stage can correct a world of hurt and leave you painting later on a solid design. It'd also help composition problems but a notan helps more for that. The notan doesn't have to have perfect ellipses but if they are in the ballpark it helps.

More of a method suggestion for next few than anything else. It's some of what I did to finally beat ellipses, I ground down on my sketchbook and did a lot of cylindrical regular and irregular objects in perspective in charcoal or sketch level, Conte, pencils, pastels with only one layer, etc.

I varied what I did the sketching in to keep from getting bored with the same stupid cup from life over and over. Vases with that ginger jar shape can be real trippy keeping them symmetrical. Best thing for symmetry on all cylinder shapes is a construction line down the middle and measure the sides, sketch one good line, get it more or less accurate and then measure across at key points to keep it the same shapes and angles. Or the lazy way, literally draw half of it and then trace with soft charcoal on printer paper, flip it over and transfer the same line. Nothing wrong with tools!

I also used to have a couple of ovals and circles guages - drafting stencils - and I would sometimes do ellipses using those back when I had all of my stuff instead of just some of it. Paying attention to direction and flattening but the tools kept them symmetrical. Those are a little expensive though and may not go large enough for big pastel paintings, worked well for small drawings though.

On this painting:

The bottom ellipse of the big vase seems to be a straight line, that should angle slightly. A bigger problem is the bucket handle forming a parallel straight line that forms a visual "tangent" and unless I'm staring right at it to distinguish what that big horizontal straight line is, I think of the bucket as transparent and distorting a flat bottom on the vase!

Suggestion: fix the tiny bit of bottom ellipse that shows by giving it a slight angle and then tilt the bucket handle up. Maybe prop it on another object or just let it stick up at an angle like it's a little stiff at the hinges. Maybe add a handle in the middle of the loop to make it clearer what it is. The placement of the bucket is awesome and its perspective actually looks good, it's just the handle being flat horizontal creates an optical illusion that doesn't work unless you want people to guess at figure-ground, opaque-transparent.

It's a trick that could make for a puzzling, interesting painting if you ever later do it on purpose. Most mistakes can also be special effects for their own uses as Jackie pointed out. Artists do distort perspective on purpose, but it helps to know what it would be if you got it right to do that well.

05-05-2015, 11:05 AM
great advice above

05-09-2015, 06:24 AM
I spent some time working on this last night. I am much happier with this and learned a few things from you guys, thanks :)

05-09-2015, 07:21 AM
MUCH better, well done you

05-09-2015, 07:52 AM
Thank you, Jackie :)

05-09-2015, 08:12 AM
Very nice!