View Full Version : A question of Pace
A Question of pace
This is a mock up for a large painting I am contemplating.
It will be oil on canvas 87 x 47
(Approx 4 x 7)
I will also be posting this to the composition forum for feedback in that area.
My question is:
As I am a slow & careful painter ( only 18 months painting) and it usually takes me about 2 weeks to finish one portrait ( let alone these 13), I am concerned that as I start painting, each figure, by the time I get back to the first one, my paint will have dried too much for touch ups.
Also, I imagine tackling the figures first then doing the sky/sea/boat/sails etc. Mainly because I dont want to be mucking up the background as I do any adjustments on my edges.
Some teachers have told me it is a golden rule to always use a re-touching varnish after a two week break others tell me they never use it.
I wonder if the experts would share how they would approach this painting.
Just a note on the preparation for this so far:
· I modelled my boat on a tiny replica of a Pearler I saw in the local maritime museum
· I made large drawings of the figures shrunk them down in a photocopier then scanned them & shrunk them to scale.
(They are all little cut outs, so I can move them around.)
· All of the figures are from photos of friends & family.
· To evaluate the light source I have made little plasticine figures to scale & will throw a light upon them when the time comes to see where the shadows fall.
11-15-2003, 07:53 PM
Wow, what a project!! I applaud you for approaching this with such thought and planning!
Unfortunately, I can't help you with your questions (I don't work with oils), but I can't wait to see where you take this one! Keep us posted!
what a project indeed Carole.!!
it is so daunting, I am too scared to start.
It took months to do all the drawings & take it to the point it is - then I have just left it waiting for a HUGE block of time to tackle it.
Now that I have found WC - i feel confident that i can get some help ?????? (please??)
11-15-2003, 09:48 PM
it seems like a huge undertaking...instead of doing the whole painting to start...what about doing a few studies? pieces to work out the things like the shadowing, the proportions, the sky and water, etc.
this way you'll figure out the lighting etc...from what i can see it looks like the proportions in relation to the ship are a bit off...the people that is. also with the people some look like they're not in proper body proportion...
there are certain formulas that bodies usually conform to...
another problem is that of shadowing...it's not only the light hitting but how the light hits and bounces off on different colors, how the sail above will change the light and shadow, etc.
you've given me a bigger headache that I thought i had. - ha ha.
you think i should leave it for a couple of years until I get some more experience.?
You are right tho. Trying to do too much from my imagination when i don't really know much, may well be beyond me.
Yes - I did not concentrate a lot on the bodies in the drawings. I was so focused of their faces. I know I have a lot yet to do there.
However, if I do go ahead & start it - do you think that by sending in progress shots, I could , with the help of you folk, actually wing it.?
thanks for the feedback.
11-15-2003, 10:37 PM
Hi Biki. Wow, this does look like an awesome project but it can be tackled...just be ready for the challenge. Arlene pointed out a few good things to consider. It seems you work well by doing studies so maybe charcoal studies might help you work out some of the difficulties with recreating the lighting conditions.
I am so impressed that you have went to the trouble of creating plasticine figurines and lighting them. Can I ask where you got the plasticine? Its a great idea and was done by a lot of the greatest artists. Large scenes with a lot of figures always impress me because of the constant attention to scale and proportion.
Good luck and as you know, we will be here cheering you on for what? the next 6-8mos of painting!? ;)
I feel a teeny bit of courage returning.
What Arlene said about the difficulties with the colours rather threw me ( i hadn't thought of that) - but maybe I will re-do my plasticing figures in the colours that I will be using - once I get some feed back from the composition forum. That way I might be able to see clearer.
I got the plasticine from the local toy shop. They didn't have much & I may have to order in diferent colours - as the kiddies mainly use playdough these days.
Doing a scaled down version in charcoal is a good idea, so long as you don't ask for those faces in detail again. They took forever & will take forever again in the painting. Twice is enough. !!
Yes large paintings with lots of people - I have been looking them up. There is one by Alma-Tadema that fascinates me. " The finding of Moses". I try to study this to see how he made it look so beautiful & alive.
There were lots of questions i posed to the composition forum about this. You wanna check it out for me.?
btw - am i expecting too much help from you guys.?
lemmeno - hate to be a nuisance.
6 - 8 months.? let me see. it takes me at least two weeks to do a head portrait - make that four for a whole body - times that by 13 = 52 add another couple for the background .... a little over a year darlin'.!!
I think your Howard Roark was laughing at me. !!
11-16-2003, 04:43 AM
AlmaTadema is one of my favorites; I can see how you would like to study it more in depth.
Over a year? See this is like a commitment; like getting into a relationship; or like picking a roomate. You are going to get very familiar with this painting. lol. ;)
11-17-2003, 02:06 AM
I agree with vince...first do individual studies of two or three of the people at a time...get the body proportions correct and the modeling...from there do one of the ship etc...
to make it work as realism everything has to fit just so...it can be done, but to "tackle" a project like this, you need to do it in baby steps.
Least that's how I would do it...I personally would spend a month or so, making sure everything works out right on paper, before even attempting it on canvas...most of the masters did it that way too.
I am feeling quite heady about it now - rather than hearty.
But I can think of nothing else - so I guess I will indeed do it.
The idea for this painting was sparked by a poem that I wrote - and I just had this incredible urge to paint the scene of the poem.
I know it may be out of my depth - but for some reason, this does not dull my enthusiasm.
Lately, I have come to this realization that I CAN paint over what isn't working. So I am not too worried about it.
The main thing to get my head around is the fact that it is a painting that will take time..... and that my light sources are a mystery at this point.
So I am still questioning how to pace myself so that the paint doesn't get too dry ... and am thinking of painting the figures in monochrome first - getting them right that way first - and even thinking of the possibility of doing a moonlight theme - (it is called "Dream Boat" after all.)
I guess I will think about it some more for a while before I forge ahead. I most definitely will do some sea studies before I start, as I have not tackled that realistally before - ( and some moon light studies, perhaps) - and you have convinced me that I should do more detailed studies of each figure as well - at least in pencil or charcoal.
Would you care to see them as individual pieces as I go.?
In the meantime - I feel i will be guided - somehow.
Thanks for the interest shown by a few.
thanks to you & Vince, for your most valuable advice.
12-04-2003, 10:58 PM
I am not sure what this painting is supposed to be about as in when you state that you used pictures of people you knew are they supposed to be in the painting?
Here is an idea for light and proportion for whatever it is worth. I hope it helps some.
Do you have a digital camera?
You could ask a male friend and a girl friend to pose, not in the nude ;), and do a 'collauge' in the computer. Like here is my idea:
have the camera on a tripod and set in one spot. Have the models move around an area outdoors while you look through the camera to mark out where they are in or out of the frame then place scraps of paper or whatever to mark where you want the models to stand and then photograph them in these different positions on the different markers. They could even wear different clothes each time just as long as the lighting stayed the 'same' and the camera was not moved. Then put the pictures in your computer and layer one on to the other and viola! you have photographic images of real people all in the same light in different positions in the same 'space.' Then you can just alter the faces as you need to for whoever you want in the painting.
It might not be the complete and total answer, but it could be a good start to lighting. And yes I know photographs are not always what an artist wants to work from but unless you can afford to hire a whole group of models for an extended period of time I do not know how else you will be able to do it. If anything the picture could give you ideas. Ideas are good. And you can always alter lighting and such in Paintshop or Photoshop.
As for boats have you ever thought of 'plain air' painting at a marina? You might get a family who goes sailing regularly to pose for you. That'd be cool.
hey Blue Girl - thanks for taking the time to answer this.
You won't believe what i have decided to do.
i have decided to make more detailed models of the group. It is gonna take some work - getting the heads the right size on the bodies according to their size/height etc ( lots of work for me).
I saw a thread on the sculpture forum about "magic sculpt" - seems like a relly cool medium to do little sculpts with.
.... but i will think about this idea of yours - it may save me a lot of work.
I cannot explain the yearning I have to do this painting without waffling on about the spiritual essence of it. All I know is that I am on fire to do it - and along with that comes the exercises of patience - and forebearance - and study - and determination - and more ..... at the same time i must find the sense to know when i am not ready, and then the courage to know when i am ready.
I can tell you that this Wet Canvas site is a God-send. I am in such an incredible learning mode thru you wonderful people, that i wonder when i will actually get around to painting again.!!
I believe i headed your way - just so that i could make a success of my "Dream Boat".
12-05-2003, 09:45 PM
Here is something that might be very useful.
BE CAREFUL though. I went there looking for nudes or semi nudes and while the male photographs are not objectionable I do think personally that some of the women's are.
Now, the reason I mention this to you is because they have boat pictures there too. I didn't click on that gallery so I cannot tell you how useful those pictures are.
there's something wrong with that link - it won't work for me.
would love to see it tho, can you check the address for me.?
12-05-2003, 10:44 PM
The first thing I thought was, the people are too large a scale for the boat. The second thing was, there are too many of them in the boat (perhaps why it's riding so low in the water). The third thought I had was, the size and numbers of the people emphasises a feeling of good friends and good will, all in the same boat together, the emotional emphasis not being on the boat, but of the friendships and of the importance these people have in the mind of the creator of the work.
Have you considered doing this as a collage? You draw quite well, and the paper people collaged into a painted scene would, I think, add to the feeling of togetherness in this.
O well, just my 2.5 cents:)
12-05-2003, 11:54 PM
I am such a doof! I put an 's' on it. Try this:
This I copy pasted from the source where I first linked to it. You have to rejister but it is free. You make up a user name, password, and then type in your email address. If you want to protect yourself from spam then create a secondary email at a place like hotmail or excite.com instead of using your primary.
They do the password stuff to protect kids I guess.
12-06-2003, 12:02 AM
I tested the link and it works, whew!
At any rate, I am not sure how useful this site will be since, as the disclaimer states, some of these images are copyrighted! I just now noticed this. It is only my second visit after signing up so I didn't read all of the text. The page is rather cluttered. Information overload.
"Disclaimer: This is not stock photography, many of these images are copyrighted. This site was created in my spare time to provide artists with reference, it is not for profit. The images come from many places, if you own copyright to some of these pictures let me know and I will remove them immediatly or give you credit."
Which makes me want to ask the question "Well then why did you bother to create it?" If I can't use the photographs as resources to paint from and to sell the paintings made from these photographs then there really is no point in me using the 'resource'.
Some people :rolleyes:
thanks Bluegirl - i'm in.!!
gotta wait 24hours. but it looks really good.
you are a gem.:)
12-06-2003, 03:02 AM
Check your email, the one you used to sign up with, I got my confirmation email just seconds after signing up.
And, I should say something that I was made aware of by a wetcanvas member: This web page has been warned by wetcanvas because some images from the reference library here were copied and put on his page. I don't know more about it than that I and personally I didn't see any pictures that I recognized from here. Just use the site with caution.
In fact the more I think about it the madder I get at that 'person' who made the page. What use is it if an image you want to use you can't get permission for?? So this person wasted all that energy building and coding and collecting that huge reference page basically for nothing.
Ah, if I'd have known how tough it would be to get reference photographs I wouldn't have started painting! You're only safe bet is to buy a CD of pictures from the photographers themselves.
Here are more links:
A lot of links mostly to books and pay-to-get information type stuff.
Stuff like Virtual Pose. Have to pay for.
Selling a CD. Looks like Virtual Pose type stuff.
For what its worth:
It is a very large site and I am still uncertain what exactly it is
and why it was created but you might be able to get some pictures
or something if you have a lot of time to click through.
Book that might be interesting:
The Female Figure In Movement by Thomas Jennings
The Atlas Of Forshortening by John Cody, Ron Tribell
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