View Full Version : BlueStill-Complete and New Q

07-07-2004, 12:16 PM
Okay- it's done (I think- lol) and I thank all of you so much for the support- sometimes when you're going out on a limb, you don't want anyone to see you, but more often it's smart to have a "spotter" or 20 to catch you when you fall. Y'all are great spotters.




(Edit- those refractions onto the pitcher "neck" are- and I am telling you now so you are warned- absolutely impossible to do without coming close to grinding your teeth right down to stubs. I did them THREE TIMES before I wiped 'em all off AGAIN, laid in the neck colours again, and then just swiped a few arcs in there and said "Good *-ing enough for me!" Think of them like dust motes in the sun- pretty, but not something you can really catch in your hands.)

When I asked my original question, I deliberately left the hues out of the original photo so folks could concentrate on the composition without *all these colours!* distracting them- and y'all came through wonderfully. Now I have a new question.

I REALLY think cutting that line of light straight in from the upper left corner gives this an amazing sense of space, depth and a geometrical strength which is only missing in the original when you see the new. But, you see, diagonals to a corner are compositional no-no's- tsk-tsk and all that; (*eyebrows up and looking down nose*) "Mustn't break the rules..." unless you can get away with it. So what do you think? Can I get away with it??


Kathryn Day
07-07-2004, 01:14 PM
WOW! This is just beautiful. Love the reflections.

07-07-2004, 01:37 PM
SBJ you have truly outdone yourself here :) ........ all that teeth grinding paid off lol ....... its a beauty, and Im not even a fan of blue (blame it on the mandatory school uniform :D ) ...... love the solidness of all the items, the beautiful reflective colours..... you've made the glass 'crystal clear' and squeaky clean ...... and will look stunning framed (am still waiting to see your table and chairs framed - hint hint) ..... which I hope you will post pics, and not forgetting the one for size ....... but I do have a few buts, dont hate me ok lol .... and it doesnt detract from what you have already achieved...... few things I noticed that you may want to look at.....
1. is the light hitting the handle and tip of the jug.... it would seem that the handle goes INTO the jug, not part of it at the side
2. the actual shape of the reflection of the glass onto the jug..... the sides are different
3. I actually went back and looked at your initial photo .... as again the reflection of the glass has a strange twist.... looking at the photo, it seems there is a stronger reflection or something within the glass jar its self

Feel free to ignore me lol, as I dont think I can afford your orthandontist fees :D

Excellent work SBJ...... BIG pat on the back...... well done in deed ..... have you decided what sort of mount/colour/frame etc for this yet

Love it :clap: :clap: :clap:

07-07-2004, 01:49 PM
Thank you, Katy- I like it, too.

Dawn- the handle gave me fits- it's barely suggested in the pic unless you bring up your brightness to the point all other lights are blown- but it's there. It's like a shadow back there- and I foolishly laid black in which makes this hole thing in a photograph- irritating- and I keep looking at it myself, wondering, wondering....

As to the reflection, I'm not sure I understand, but I can tell you what I did. I made the pitcher bigger so all of my objects were slightly different in size; this forced a change in the reflections which I had to extrapolate from what WAS in the pic, to what SHOULD BE in the pic if the pitcher was that size- understand? The pitcher now "rounds" out more, which would force that reflection to distort even more at that angle. I may've extrapolated wrong, but, I think without seeing the photo, it isn't something "wrong", if that makes sense. Like how a piece is just fine- until you show the ref photo and then Folks say "Well this isn't the same...." Nope- it's not- I changed things a bit. But, if you can figure out a fix for what you see wrong, I'll surely look at it.

However- neither of you have answered my burning question: Can I use that diagonal to the corner??????

07-07-2004, 01:52 PM
I think the diagonal to the corner works, but maybe because of the other diagonal cutting it before it reaches the corner. Julie...your blue jar, the clear glass and the shadowed part of the pitcher are so well done there are no good words to express it. Masterful...beautiful. But the white area of the pitcher, IMO, takes away from the rest. I think it may have worked with a blue white...it's just the glaring change from all the blue in the rest of the piece. It is a sharp contrast, which I know you were wanting to capture, but too sharp for me, it doesn't mesh. sorry, it just seems that all that blue would be reflected into the light area. I kind of hesitated to mention it...I may be the only person that sees it that way. And the rest is really just so wonderful. I just figured you always analyze everything and would give it a good thorough contemplation and explain why or why not on this point. It could be that it would be too overwhelmingly blue.
btw, did you like working big....and is it 'too big' for the subject like you feared?

07-07-2004, 01:54 PM
Oh, and I've not decided anything on mat and frame- I usually like to pick up a colour in the piece, but that blue'd be far too much, and the rust/orange isn't really that "clean". I AM thinking a triple mat with reveal, but colours haven't even entered the equation yet (prolly two the same, and one a complement). As to frame, all I can see is it needs a big, wide frame- it's easily big enough to handle something in the medium ornate range- not fancy-schmancy, but not plain.

Suffice to say NOTHING has been framed since the show- it's apparently summer, and that'd be "work". Waiting for winter, when the weather is lousy and cold and THEN going into the unheated workshop is, apparently, far preferable. :rolleyes:

07-07-2004, 01:55 PM
Beautiful! I especially love the detail. Now...don't throw that pitcher at me..but I like the composition of the detail even better than the original. I find it a little more exciting with only parts of the items showing. Anyhow...either way...it's very well done!

07-07-2004, 02:01 PM
In psp, Sue, I played with the whole pic- and thought maybe that white pitcher was a "blown highlight"- and tried pulling it back with filters of *something* (I tried blue, "tan", and a mauve-y colour) but it just didn't work. That pitcher is WHITE (enamelware) and in the sun, it shines WHITE- blindingly, purely white. So I dunno- I started with a cream base to it there, but when push came to shove, and I had to bring the sunlight and volume into it, white was the only thing that did it. I'll look again about bringing some of the cream back in around the edges of that form, though.

That's what I think about the diagonal, too- it opens it more, allows more "light", and that one little nick in the lower right pulls it back from cutting it in half. The dark's heavy enough- that's why that little nick is jes' a tad lighter there.

And thanks- I'm glad it's nearly done. :) :cool: :)

07-07-2004, 02:04 PM
lol Judy- can't even get away with that one- that's waaaay too centered! But you're right- I've looked at an abstract-ish crop of the pic, too, and it's in my "who knows?" basket.

07-07-2004, 02:07 PM
Working this big was not a problem, Sue, once I was sure I'd laid in the large shapes big enough. From there, it was just a question of how much pastel I was gonna lose- you should see the little piles of it in various places on the tabletop....

Kathryn Wilson
07-07-2004, 02:44 PM
This is an amazing piece Julie - you took on a challenge and did it! However, I do have to agree with Sue on the whiteness of the pitcher, but then read that it is indeed a white porcelain pitcher (whereas my brain was telling me it was blue). What to do, what to do - hmmm, thinking here - I think the reflections are too sharp, or the orange is too bold. A little artistic license here - I think a little blue in the white would help it read better.

But I know you are done with this, and my little nitpicks are just that - it is an amazing painting. :clap:

Deborah Secor
07-07-2004, 02:50 PM
Julie, this is a stunningly beautiful piece--very accurate and realistic but with a nice sense of design that indicates the hand of the artist. It's simple and elegant and lyrical. The explosion of light on the side of the pitcher is very vivid and thrilling and I hope it doesn't change!

I have to tell you my first impression, however. I wondered if the pitcher was two different colors. Now, as soon as I rationally examined it I discarded that thought, but somehow I feel even now that the cream in shadow is too blue. The values you've created are perfect--absolutely perfect. I snagged your original blurry photo and compared to be sure. But the color seems like it would be more flavored with the cream, especially because of that explosion of bright light on its front.

Please understand that I think this is exquisite as it is--and this is purely an analysis in response to my first visceral reaction. Only you are standing before the painting and I certainly know how color is affected by photos and monitors!

Oh--I forgot to mention the diagonal. The point of the corner diagonal is not distracting because of the quieter value that's so overwhelmed by the light on the pitcher, and both diagonal lines are broken, so in my opinion it works fine.


07-07-2004, 03:06 PM
Thank you Kat- I yellowed the white a tad- just a tad. It's only noticeable if you know what to look for.

I know Deborah, she wailed, but look at how nice it looks! Really "painterly" and dead on value-wise!! hahaha!! Truly? I went with those colours 'cause when I took the original pic into psp and upped sats, those were the colours present. Same with the "orange" in the refracted lights- in the untouched pic, they look a dull beigey gray- but upping the sats reveals them to be an orange-y hue. Thank you- I appreciate your comments.

I've also added jes' a hint to the right side shoulder of the vase- THEN I hadda get the vase out and look at it close- apparently, hand blown crystal isn't always exactly round and proportionate. Who'da thunk it?!??

07-07-2004, 03:22 PM
I'll keep this brief...GORGEOUS!!!!!!!!!

:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

07-07-2004, 03:29 PM
Sorry forgot to answer about the diagonal ...... Dee said it so well Oh--I forgot to mention the diagonal. The point of the corner diagonal is not distracting because of the quieter value that's so overwhelmed by the light on the pitcher, and both diagonal lines are broken, so in my opinion it works fine
Perhaps I can make myself a bit clearer..... I felt it to be not quite right from this view point as here and now, not from seeing your photo, and then thinking..... aha! ..... if you follow me.... the jug suddenly juts inwards.... and couldnt understand why, so tried to clarify what I was seeing .... and refered back to your photo - and could only reason with it by refering to it. If seeing this for the first time without any prior ref, why would the jug go inwards when it appears to be a pot bellied jug? do you understand what I mean now .... does the pic help


Only by refering to your photo could I understand why, that, there were more stronger reflections or shadows within the glass jar that distorted not seeing a similiar edge to the jug on the right hand side ....... get it? :) .... the light blue within the jar, seems too similiar to that of the surface and gives the impression of a clear view through onto the table, and makes you think (well lol, at least me) that the jug has a strange edge of the left hand side

07-07-2004, 03:55 PM
Oh I see, Dawn- trust me, I hadda really look hard at it to figure out what the hey was going on there in order to paint it! It's something to do with the refractive nature of lead crystal, the differing thicknesses of the crystal, the angle of the two different pieces of crystal the pitcher is seen through, and probably a bit of "let's make this difficult, shall we?" sheer stubborness on the part of most anything I do.... :rolleyes: :D :rolleyes:

I kept searching my ref blow-up of just the vase to make sure I wasn't missing some vital highlight or shape which would explain it better, but that's pretty much what is there- and all that's there. Sometimes, ya just gotta go with it and trust to luck....

Thank you, Sooz- I am well-pleased.

07-07-2004, 05:36 PM
Ok - you win!!! This is the best reflection of glass I've ever seen done in a pastel painting so far. It's fantastic and when I look at the Black and White version I'm damn impressed with how "spot on" it is. Those values are remarkable - it needs to appear in a publication.

But... ok- you asked for spotters and you can shoot me later...

Flip it horizontally or look at it in a mirror. I'm a bit concerned with angle of the dark blue canister at the very bottom. there was something about it facing correctly and then I flipped it and it was more obvious.

Wait - before you change anything - make sure it's not a result of the photograph or scan. I'd feel horrible if it was.

And I agree - the long light shadow angle is very strong and doesn't alter the piece one bit.

Hope you wanted to hear this. I have to admit sometimes when I think I'm done with a piece - reading more comments is the last thing I want to do. So remember.... you can always shut off the computer and sign this puppy.


07-07-2004, 06:36 PM
Thanks, Barb. I truly 'preciate your words.

I think the blue thingie's right bottom is being lost in shadow- I upped the contrast there just the tiniest tad and am going to leave it at that suggestion of a "base". The foot of the thing- which is white underneath and that shows on the left- is in 3/4 shadow which deepens as it rounds the front- so it gets seriously lost. To compensate, I upped the "round" of the bottom rim, instead.

And I already laid in the longer corner-diagonal light to see if I still like it. So far, so good. Had to re-adjust the right foreground light shape a bit, but all in all, it really opens it up nicely.

07-07-2004, 06:54 PM
This is WOW! I've been watching the discussion on the other thread and have picked it up here too. It's been fun to see the decisions you've made and to see this painting develop. I'm such a simple kinda gal, that I'll leave all the composition comments to others, I just know what I like, and when it comes right down to it, you are the one whom needs to be ultimately satisfied with the finished painting even tho you asked for C & C, what drew you to paint this? Your answer will be different than what anyone else sees. This is a vibrant and brilliant painting. You should be very proud of what you've achieved here.

07-07-2004, 07:31 PM
I had my doubts at first, I'll admit, but you've created a piece you should be proud of!! :clap: :clap: ...

Merethe T
07-07-2004, 08:08 PM
Oh, it turned out just as wonderful as I thought it would - amazing!! :clap:

I It's been fun to watch your prosess, a learning experience for me - thanks for sharing. I won't go into details, got a long way to go before I have the kind of knowledge so many in here have, but I have to say the diagonal seem fine to me, works out well and leads the eye rinht into the painting. Nice, calm atmosphere, but with a bit of excitement and tension coming from the shadows - and I love the blues!!

Great job, you should be proud!! :)

07-08-2004, 12:11 AM
Oh my...........this is breathtaking..............wow........thanks so much for sharing, I am really pleased I saw this.

Hope it gets a prime location in a gallery or somebody's house.


07-08-2004, 12:40 PM
Thank you, Paula- what draws one person to a subject while leaving another looking askance is highly subjective. In this case, I liked the way the slash of light lit some parts, and left others vague, whilst at the same time being perfectly readable. I liked the drama- and I wanted to see if I could make that lead crystal *sing* as it does in pure sunlight. So- I did. But that's why I want Preston to do an article- How to take something mundane, something others look at askance, and turn it into a painting.

Oh ye of little faith, Preston- you gotta remember, when I say "This could be great" that's just what I mean. I just don't necessarily mean I'm the one who can do it- hahaha! Thank you, Sir, your words mean a lot.

Thanks, Cravia- I think I like drama because it's not something I seek in my life- I'm not shy (at all), but my "real" life is quite quiet, staid and unexciting. I mean, my big excitement today is going ggrocery shopping- wow. So, I paint what I do not have.

Thank you, Sophie- I do too. I've been thinking lately I need to find a pro photographer to make slides for me- it's not that I am hopeless with a camera, but I think some of this stuff lately deserves better than what I can do photographically- especially since I don't know an F-stop from an F-sharp. We'll see.

07-08-2004, 01:28 PM
Wonderful! I am not surprised at all because I know you usually have it right in your head and it ultimately works out.
That glass vase is amazing...I keep looking at it over and over. Truly brilliant how you handled it.
I think it all works and however you do the diagonal in the end is fine with me...you have to be happy with it and I really do trust your judgement about where you are headed with your paintings.


07-08-2004, 01:31 PM
I've been thinking lately I need to find a pro photographer to make slides for me- it's not that I am hopeless with a camera, but I think some of this stuff lately deserves better than what I can do photographically.."

I have to agree with you on this....I can and have taken my own slides, but knowing that a pro is taking care of it all would be well worth the investment for me....... kind of like working on the car....it's cheaper in the long run to pay to have something done right!

07-08-2004, 05:27 PM
wow!!! wow!!! wow!!!!! Julie, It's magnificent!!!!!!! :clap: :clap: :clap:


Kitty Wallis
07-08-2004, 07:40 PM
Wonderful work. How do you feel? I hope you are proud, it's great.

I can't find the dimensions anywhere. How big IS it?

07-08-2004, 08:05 PM
Thanks Gwen- where've you been? If vacationing, I hope it was fun and you have lots to paint.

Thank you, Kitty- I appreciate your comments. It ended up cropped about 30" x 22"- and I LIKES it that big. lol- can't explain it, it just looks right. I'm very pleased with it; it isn't like I cannot believe I did that, but that it all worked like I wanted it to work. Usually I can see flaws- silly, amateurish, flat, *wrong* spots in a piece- with this one, everything is juuuuuust right to my eye. Like usual, it is time for it to go now, since it is safely down on paper, but when I see it, I'm happy with it- it isn't like most that are "out-of-sight-out-of-mind", once off the easel, may as well not exist.

Seems it doesn't matter what I learn from trying different genres (landscapes, figures, looser approaches) I always end up back at simple "things", and whatever I just learned is poured onto that "thing". Maybe someday I'll be able to do more as well, as thoroughly, but I dunno- some folks are landscapists, some portraitists- me, I'm a "thingist", apparently. Problem is, half the stuff in my head are absolutely not simple "things"- and they and I need to part ways- it's getting crowded in there. Once I get 'em down safely on paper, they don't bug me anymore. ;)

Pinecone Conniff
07-08-2004, 09:08 PM
I know you have already gotten a lot of comments but I just have to tell you that this work is fantastic!! :cool:
I love blue!...You handled a very difficult still life with style & grace! I bow to you...Lady of the Crystal...

07-08-2004, 09:48 PM
LOL! Why thank you, Annette- just hope that tiara doesn't get knocked off by the little hornbuds the way my halo always does....

I think I decided on a name for it: "The Light Fantastic"

07-09-2004, 02:43 AM
re your comment about the positioning of the diagonal.........why dont you simply trust the fact that actually, you love what you have produced here, and perhaps the reason why you love it so much, is because it is RIGHT in your eyes. I suspect that the issue about the diagonal is just niggling at you because that's where you wanted to put it in the first place, and inside many of us there is a little contrary alternative gremlin who says "yeah, but what if I had done it that way - no matter what anyone else might say - wouldn't it have been better? And isn't it fun to break the rules anyway?"

Of course it is fun to break rules, and make things work. Of course other people are going to find things in a picture that to THEIR eye, don't quite work....we all see things slightly differently, and probably could pick up tiny points we would DO differently, in every painting we look at. I agree with Dawn about what looks like an indent on the jug, and also about your colour choices for the lit,and unlit parts given that it is a white juge ...but what the hell do my thoughts matter, in fact? I am not sitting in front of your still life, and am not using your eyes, those reflections might be doing EXACTLY what you have captured and that is what you like about it and it's not my picture anyway.

At the end of the day, the test is ... does that picture make you feel good? I think the answer, having read all YOUR answers, is yes. No matter what anyone has said that has been even slightly negative, you have bounced right back with an answer for why you have done it that way, and want to keep it that way.

So keep it that way. It is right for you.

As for taking slides of your pic...a simple set-up, if you are interested, is to use two 500w tungsten bulbs, on stands, set up either side of your easel. They aren't too expensive to buy (at least, they arent here in the UK). Keep out as much natural light from the room as possible. Use a good quality 35mm camera, and put a blue daylight filter on the lens. This corrects the colour so you can use daylight slide film. Put the camera on a tripod.

I get wonderful results, have had work reproduced in magazines and books and the colour from the slides is very good.


07-09-2004, 08:44 AM
Very well said Jackie.

07-09-2004, 12:40 PM
Thanks, Jackie, I think you're right: Confidence in your work is a good thing to have. I remember when I took these reference pics I was very careful NOT to allow that slash of light to run to the corner, which is probably why I ended up cutting off too much on the left of the pic, so that when I added onto the left in psp, sure enough, it runs up into the corner. I've run it up there "in real" now- not *exactly* into the corner, but about an inch down. Opens it right up and the balance is even stronger.

Suppose that's the odd thing about rules, eh? So often there's a knee-jerk reaction to the breaking of a rule without bothering to see if NOT breaking the rule is *better*, somehow, on its own merits. I remember the discussion in the photography forum when someone posted a pic that "appeared" very centered, and everyone knee-jerked about that, until the poster said, "If there's a better way to comp it, show me." No one could, despite some serious tries, and they all ended up realizing the rule didn't fit *that* particular photo. I know your book explains all the rules of composition very clearly, (Preston is adamant everyone have a copy), and that even you say, sometimes, a rule works best when broken.

And thanks for the info on photographing the paintings- I'll certainly check all of that out.

Pinecone Conniff
07-09-2004, 09:56 PM
Julie--There is a book by Roger Saddington "The Quick & Easy Guide to Photographing Your Artwork" Very useful!!

07-10-2004, 12:52 PM
Thanks, Annette- I'll look for that, too.

My quasi-daughter-in-law is a budding amateur photogrpaher with a decent set-up- not to mention they always need money- I'm thinking maybe let her have a go at it and use my family-discount (2 free meals off the price of the work). She's a vegetarian, so I can get off pretty cheaply with some stuffed mushrooms and a tomato/onion/cucumber salad.... :cool:

Mikki Petersen
07-10-2004, 02:21 PM
Exceptionally well painted Julie! You should be quite pleased now that the struggle is over. I'm so impressed with the glass...and all those electric blues! WOW!

07-12-2004, 05:33 PM
Wow! This is stunning. Your glass is spectacular.


Tom Christopher
07-12-2004, 09:06 PM
Absolutely stunning pastel. For me, this has to be one of the finest works I 've seen on this site so far. Thank you for posting it.. Tom

07-12-2004, 09:10 PM
I love the distortion and refraction of light in this piece! Wonderful!

07-13-2004, 11:33 AM
Julie, Every time I look at your painting I am more and more impressed! It is just so very fantastic! The colors, composition use of light just blow me away!!

As for me, been busy with Boston terrier rescue. All those TV ads with bostons sure is adding to our numbers. I am working on my second portrait when I get time.

I can hardly wait to see your next project. Your still life really is sooooooooo
fantabulous!!!!!! :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

07-13-2004, 11:43 AM
very nicely done. i love blue! love the way you treated the transparent subject.

07-13-2004, 11:48 AM
Thank you all so much. Wow! I'm humbled by all of this. Sometimes, what you can see in your head, no matter what is in front of you either in a pic or a set-up, is just so powerful you feel as if you're just fleshing out an idea that was always there, you know? 'Least, that's the way it works for me- one idea fights for supremacy and takes control of my hands and eyes and reveals itself. Kinda like "Survivor: In Front of the Easel", (generally, though, I get thrown off the island far more often than not- apparently, I am the weakest link in this whole art thing....)

Gwen, all's I can tell you is to take your time to look, and look, and look again at every*thing* about your reference- be it a pic or a dog sitting still (like that happens often!) Measure, with your eyes, your pencil, your brain- learn to see the spatial relationships between colour shapes- that skill will never let you down. And keep having fun- else what good is it?

Mary Robinson
07-13-2004, 02:18 PM
You certainly did it :) . You've captured all the promise shown in the pic. And you work well big, wonder if that's cause you get to squeeze in more details? :D


Kitty Wallis
07-13-2004, 03:46 PM
Hi Julie,
I just showed this piece to my son, a fine critic, he said "WOW!, That is Awesome! She should go straight to water." I told him you were coming to the color intensive on water in Sept and he grinned, "She is? That's great."

He doesn't say nice things. Only true things.

07-13-2004, 04:51 PM
lol- probably exactly that, Mary- thanks- it was a nice piece to work on- went easy.

Kitty, y'all are really angling for those little quiche thingies aren't you? Sheeeeesh! Talk about no pressure- I'll prolly fall off the dock and give new meaning to working wet-in-wet. :eek: (I'll blame Preston, though, and say he pushed me) Thank you, and please give my thanks to your son- I appreciate both you and he taking the time to look, and comment.