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pr1130
05-28-2004, 09:58 AM
First off, I need to mention that this is not 1 of my originals. It's from 1 of my art books, which I sometimes use for practice. It's 16 x 20 gessoed masonite along with golden fluids and liquitex med visc. paints.

It's not quite finished but I need to set it aside for awhile to get a fresh look.

anyway... I know there's lots of rough spots but I'm here to learn so critique away. Any comments, suggestions etc are very much appreciated.

Peter

Caterwallin'
05-28-2004, 01:14 PM
Hey Peter, I think you have done a great job on this and there are only two objects that I have questions about.

One is the branch that seems to come out of a hole in the central main tree. Is this how it appears in the reference? If so, don't worry about it! When I look at a painting, I'm always drawn to something within it that pulls my gaze as well as my attention. I just found myself drawn to this branch asking myself how, when, where, and why? Remember, this may be just me! LOL!! Perhaps this is a good thing considering the overall composition is designed to conceal the wolf!

The second is a realization that you may not be done with it yet, but I have to ask. Is the farthest background going to be dark or snow covered and light?

The wolf itself looks great! His fur is great although you may want to pull some of it off of his right shoulder area into/onto the tree next to him. This would create depth and position and will eliminate the hard edge.

Can't wait to see more!

Sam

Paul Corfield
05-28-2004, 01:47 PM
My main fault with it is that the wolf has too many hard edges. I would never use masks for animals, instead I would just spray it all freehand. You get a much more natural looking animal that fits into it's surroundings rather than looking like it's been cut out of a magazine and placed in the scene. Any overspray is easily controlled just by angling the airbrush so you always spray toward the animal rather than away from it. I've attached one of my paintings as an example. The only masking film used on this painting was for the edge of the vase to keep the white board clean. Everything else is freehand airbrushing. I started with the eye's and the nose. I just sprayed freehand with black and there was a fair amount of overspray. This was easily erased back to form a hard edge but it's not so hard that it looks false. The rest of the toy dogs fur is just sprayed freehand with all the fur erased out on each layer for about 4 or 5 layers. Then I just worked on the glass, still freehand, erasing out highlights etc. I just find it gives the whole image a much more natural look. A lot of airbrush work is spoiled by too much hard masking I think. Anyway, hope I haven't gone on too much. On the whole the painting is fine.

Paul.

pr1130
05-28-2004, 11:53 PM
Thanks for the comments guys, they are much appreciated.

Sam - Yes, the branch coming out of the center of the main tree is just as it appears in the reference photo. It's just not quite finished yet. I really need to work on all the trees and branches a bit more but seeing as how this was started for practice I might just leave it and work seperately on some trees/branches etc. I'm going out tomorrow to take some ref photos.

I have developed some kind of a mental block lately towards trees for some reason. Hard to explain but they just put me on edge for some reason and never turn out the way I want.

you have any tips for creating texture for tree bark? (pine, spruce etc).

The background color will be darkened a bit.

Paul - thank you for your insights. your work is outstanding to say the least.
I agree with the hard egde comments for sure. Airbrush is still kindof new for me so I have to build a little confidence with it. I find myself still reaching for my brushes because they tend to be quicker and I'm used to them but I am slowly trying to introduce more and more airbrush into my paintings. I think I'm also putting on too much paint to soon with the AB. I guess that also comes with practice/confidence though.

your technique for rendering fur is quite realistic, I will give that method a try and see what kindof of a mess I can make. LOL

thanks again

Peter

HF AIRBRUSH
05-29-2004, 04:09 AM
hey peter,
don't worry about the trees....it will finaly work...i got a great tip ones from my aussie mate gaz..
i use real bark to paint bark on trees and it work great.....just use it as mask...

henk

Penny220
05-29-2004, 08:50 AM
I will have to add the hard edge comment too on both the bark and the wolf. Your bark looks good already so you can throw the mental block away now. One thing you missed on the trees and branches is the shadows. I think once they are added it will look better. Darken up the tips of the branches that are coming out of the painting to add some depth. I wouldn't darken the background so much as define it a bit. Backgrounds are much lighter and the lighter it is, the deeper the woods look. Since there is snow in the background, add a dusting of snow on the branches as well.

The wolf... He's missing some expression. If you have a dog, take lots of pictures of him/her and look at them carefully. What is it that that changes when the expressions change. You will learn the most just by studying photographs for a day. Once you have your answer figured out it's something that will stay with you and you can carry it forward to all animals. I am not a photo-realist, for me it's more important to capture the expression and mood than it is to render something perfectly.

Coloring in a coloring book verses painting. Peoples noses and animals muzzles should be rendered in shading and not lines.

Now that the nit picking is done let me say you have done a good job. You chose to do a full detailed background with one main subject. You also chose to copy from a single ref. photo. That's easier said than done. I think it would be much easier for you to learn the airbrush if you simplified subjects a bit. Do a few landscapes, do a few animal portraits, when you are comfortable with both then blend the two. To get good at the airbrush you must use the airbrush. Mixed media is a wonderful technique but for now try to do some paintings using just the airbrush, no masks (freehand masks are OK used sparingly). Keep in mind the results are not going to be the same airbrushing as they are hairysticking it :D (a new word :D) Some things you will like better or find easier other things you will like less or find harder. If you don't try you will never know which is which or which is a witch. A good example is Sam and myself. He paints on canvas, I paint on illustration boards. He paints his fur with a hairy stick, I use the airbrush, he uses ComArt, I use Golden, he uses erasers, I don't. We both paints similiar subjects and styles and our processes are the same we just do them differently.

Penny220
05-29-2004, 08:53 AM
hey peter,
don't worry about the trees....it will finaly work...i got a great tip ones from my aussie mate gaz..
i use real bark to paint bark on trees and it work great.....just use it as mask...

henk

good point. Most subjects can be rendered using a mask of the subject eg. a leaf for a leaf, bark for a tree, grass for grass, rocks for rocks etc.

AlpineAirbrush
05-30-2004, 12:59 AM
Hi Peter,
For a fresh look at a painting or your subject, turn them upside down and work on them for a while. You'll be suprised at how a thing looks when it doesn't look like you think it ought to look like anymore. After a while of this turn the ref photo and your art on their side and paint a while. Often times we paint things ( like tree branches ) the way that we think they look instead of whats really there. Our minds play such wonderful tricks on us ! I recently heard a very famous artist say that when he does a painting he'll usually rotate the work in this manner perhaps a dozen times throughout the painting process. I recently tried it on a pic of a red Corvette I'm working on and I tell you the 1st time I turned it upside down it was incredible! I saw the reflections in the chrome in a whole new way, not at all like I had been painting them. It's part of learning to paint what's there, not what you think is there. Forget what you Know, and paint what really is there.

Paul Corfield
05-30-2004, 07:15 AM
Look at it's reflection in a mirror too. Peoples brains are different and just like people are left and right handed, people use one side of their brain more than the other. When you see the reflected image you see it in a whole new way and sometimes you see glaring mistakes that weren't apparent before because it looked ok to the other side of your brain.

You can also flip a photo of the painting over very easily in something like Photoshop just to see how it looks.

I rotate my work all the time too but this is just to make it easier to paint certain areas rather than for any other reason.

Paul.

pr1130
05-30-2004, 06:01 PM
Henk - I went to the woods today and brought home a sack full of tree bark.
I will give your suggestion a try.

Thanks again to everyone for the tips, they are much appreciated!

Peter

ProfessorGreibowitz
05-31-2004, 03:29 AM
Hey, pr1130.

Just reading. Nice painting and i agree with everyone on the advice ESPECIALLY AlpineAirbrush's. What does a tree trunk look like? I do better when I paint shapes instead of things. It isn't an eyebrow. It's a mass of dark with thin lines protruding around it. It gets smaller at the end.


Also, I am learning that sometimes you NEED to alter the reference (well, your version meaning your painting) to improve the composition or other aspect. The space between the tree and the wolf's right shoulder is bad. Things look better if they have either plenty of space OR overlap. If they coincide or are very close they "bother" the viewer even if he/she can't verbalize why.

Perhaps a darker shadow on the big tree would accentuate the rest of the painting.

Great job so far and I'll bet you improve it a lot just with a few touches here and there!!!



Tim

airpwrd
05-31-2004, 05:46 AM
Great start and keep going as I guess that why you want feed back. All I can say at this point is put more contrasts/more dark vs lights and soft edges vs hard edges. More detail to where you want us to look. If you make the tree/bark too detailed we will want to focus on that before we look the wolf. So don't get too hung up on that. Push some colors so that there are not too much of the grays, this will add more depth between wolf and trees. Neutralize that orange . . . maybe . . . the warm color comes forward too much. I really want to focus on those intense eyes over bark, tree limbs and orange. At this point you are done with the labor of laying out the work, now the best part is just starting . . . . when you pull all your elements together so that the energy comes into your great image.

Caterwallin'
05-31-2004, 11:59 AM
Hi and welcome airpwrd! Glad to have you here on WetCanvas and in our forum!

Peter, there are several things I agree with here! I myself would gather photos or actual bark as reference in order to render it with more accuracy.
There is no substitute for reference material! Like Kevin said, paint or re-create what you see and not what your mind thinks it sees! This also coincides with Penny's idea on the expression of the wolf. Re-evaluate the the gaze of the wolf in your reference, note his stare and what he is focused on. Study his expression and imagine, as well as we humans can, what he might be thinking.

I agree with Paul in that I think the more masking you use, the more work you create for yourself. Freehand as much as possible. Erasing fur is a great technique that I also have used when creating very light or white fur. In fact this is the foundation of my current fur rendering, I just use white paint instead of erasing back to the white of the board! However, the significance of erasing, as Paul was saying, is that you get a nice soft "hair" without hard edges. It's a matter of interpretation of the reference and knowing when to utilize what technique!

I also agree with creating different perspectives! Like Paul, I constantly rotate my work! If hair/fur is growing in a certain direction, I will rotate my work to best accommodate it's painting. I also rotate my reference as well. You might see things in it that you did not notice before! I always do!

I think this painting is off to a great start and I can't wait to see any and all changes you make!

Sam

Penny220
05-31-2004, 12:18 PM
Hi Peter,
For a fresh look at a painting or your subject, turn them upside down and work on them for a while.

This is fantastic advice and a great way to learn and I can't state that enough BUT... at a certain point if you ever plan on painting murals or big items you must break the habit. You can't very well turn a car, tractor trailer or a wall around to suit your purpose.

Pauls suggestion of using the mirror isn't quite as efficient but it will work for every object. The mirror also works helps to train other parts of the brain and closely coincides with the left handed drawing technique. If you ever have a mental block when creating something switch the pen/pencil to the other hand. The drawing will be sloppy but it helps put the information on the page that you can clean up later.

We always tend to see/hear what we want and not what is actually there. We must trick the brain to get around that.

Caterwallin'
05-31-2004, 12:33 PM
If I tried this mirror thing...............my brain would shut down! It would revert to limbic response's and I would run away screaming! LOL!!

My right hand is a cheering section for the left, otherwise, I may as well have it amputated! LOL!!!

Sam

pr1130
06-01-2004, 10:03 AM
Here's an updated pic of the wolf. I did take some of the suggestions given.
lightened the background and added some shadow to branches etc. along with other minor changes here and there. Not really too much but there is an improvement I think.

I realize I could likely do a bit more work on it but it was only ever meant to be a practice painting. "try it here first" kind of a deal, and it's served it's purpose.

I do thank you for all the input and will endeavor to use every bit of it in my next painting. Think I may try a portrait using only the AB for fun. see what sort of a mess I can make there. LOL

thanks again
Peter

HF AIRBRUSH
06-01-2004, 12:18 PM
hey peter,
this looks much better... ;)
watch out that you don't spoil it...hahahaha

henk

Penny220
06-01-2004, 06:09 PM
This does look much better. It's always the little things that pull things together and that after we are done with a time consuming job they are also the ones we miss. :clap: cheers, you did good :clap:

dogdad
06-01-2004, 06:57 PM
Nice painting Peter! :clap: I was wondering how Paul or anybody else on the website erases on their paintings.I have never done it and I was wondering how it was done? Is it a technique that I've missed? :confused:
Nick

ProfessorGreibowitz
06-02-2004, 12:50 AM
Yes, I like it better too! The shadows on the trunk are nice and overall it looks more realistic.


Tim