View Full Version : Help to finish or I'll scream

08-19-2004, 09:09 AM
Yes, it's the giant martini glass vase with the flowers. Please don't moan, I'm embarrassed enough. I'm trying to darken for shadows, depth - all that. I'm close to ripping it up. What am I not getting the hang of? Now I feel there's too much darkness encompassing each flower on our right, the ones on the left are still vague, blah blah blah. This comes from not having a model, not being able to picture specific light and dark, especially light source (wanted from an opening door in front)... I want to be done of this but I don't want to just give up, not really. I promise not to keep posting new threads of this one.

08-19-2004, 09:26 AM
Hi There . . .

Don't throw this away! While there are some issues, it is definitely salvageable . . .

First off, IMO, you have too many flowers in that glass . . . I can't really distinguish one flower from the next. I think if you thinned out the number of flowers . . . add in some negative space, it would look much better. . . you'd have something to work from. Once you do that, post your picture and we'll take it from there . . .


08-19-2004, 09:30 AM
You know I actually thought of that; they seem packed in there. I can't figure out where to eliminate, but I do think you are right.

08-19-2004, 09:35 AM
You might want to look at some reference pictures of flowers in vases . . . look at the pictures that capture your attention and see where the flowers are located in the vase. That will give you a general idea of where to put your flowers. . . getting rid of just 3 flowers may make all the difference in the world.

- Jenny

Kathryn Wilson
08-19-2004, 09:38 AM
Hi Grasshopper, I agree with Jenny - need to weed out. It all looks crammed in. I would look at the flowers and determine where I want my focal point flower/s to be, then by putting in some "holes" (like in sky holes) in the flower bunches around it, it will push your focal flowers forward, and the others will recede. Make sense?

It's an easy fix, just do it gently and slowly -

08-19-2004, 11:07 AM
I cannot do florals for the life of me so I won't even try to comment on the petals etc. But I love the stem of the glass and the colors in the reflected light at the base. Turn the picture to the wall and come back to it if you have to.

08-19-2004, 11:16 AM
Okay, well, I'm going to dissent. I don't mind the "crammed in effect", I think all you need to do is choose which bit is supposed to be center of interest, (me, I'd use one in a sweet spot), and then lose some edges in the subordinate areas, while highlighting a "path" around it to lead the eye. Lemme see if I can psp it (NOT a strong suit). brb.

Back- Look- I'm horrible in psp- but I'd subdue the right side of the bouquet- it's GOT to have more shadow going on because of your light source. The lightest light on that right side CANNOT be as light as on the lit side- it's impossible without some tricky backlighting and refraction going on. It has to be subdued. (I just smeared all over it with blues and purples- you'll want to go in and darken it with a nice glaze-y scumble- trust me, you can do this, keep a light touch, and just kinda lay a darker shade of each hue in place as if you were putting on eyeshadow- a hint, not a Mimi. Use the side of the pastel as much as possible- break 'em if you gotta).

I also chose a focal point and upped contrast all around it in as many ways as I could- I used complementary colours, and darkened & lightened the values around and in it- that way, it will draw the eye. From there, it's just a matter of choosing how you want the eye to travel- and you use colour like a path of breadcrumbs- "Now look over here, now over there..."


It's messy, I know- but that's my psp skills- you can do it much better with pastel, I have faith.

08-19-2004, 03:24 PM
GEE this is so pretty I made it my desktop at work!
It looks great centered in the desktop, with a wide dark space around it: The breathing room around it makes it appear less crowded. Can you mount your picture on a larger piece of dark paper?

08-20-2004, 06:55 AM
I will do everything you tell me to do, SBJ. [cough] I mean, I'll try. I see what you're saying. I think a sweet spot has to be a flower that actually resembles one! :D I worked on it yesterday but the power went off 3 or 4 times, and I didn't dare keep the computers on (weather), so didn't get to look here first at the responses. I've darkened the flowers on the right, though not as subdued as you said (but will), but I blanked out some of the extraneous flowers, making "holes" and it's better but not great. I need to punch up the flowers on the left now, because it's pretty even all the way across, and is losing the vibrant color. sigh.

Thanks for the comments and critiques. They've very important to me and I appreciate them greatly. Wow, I'm flattered.

Kathryn Wilson
08-20-2004, 08:40 AM
To make your flower(s) in the focal area (sweet spot) look punched up, it will only take a few strokes of lighter values - this will bring them forward quite a bit and you will see your other flowers recede.

Keep going, but don't overwork it!

08-20-2004, 11:54 AM
Luden's? I've a few extra- that sounds a nasty cough... ;)

You can do this- it's gonna be great! Pick one, and up the contrast all around it in as many ways as you can, and then throw breadcrumbs of colour and light all around it to make the eye travel where you want it to.

Vibrant colour comes from two things: The contrast of values (a light colour against a dark) but more importantly to ME (not everyone feels this way), the complements. If you put dark greens barely sparked with lighter tones to show form all around your center of interest flower, and then give it some pure dark pinks and reds, when you come back and kiss it with highlights, it'll *pop* right out. Trust me on this. Keep the form of your center of interest flower crisp and hard-edged, and let the rest kinda be intimated as to form- you can see here how I did that:


Inside the circle, the edges are crisp, and the flowers have "flower-form"- but otherwise, it's just bits of petals here and there.... Because what is in the circle is so strong, when the viewer sees the whole bouquet, the eye is drawn to those in the circle, and as the rest are seen, the brain says "Oh yes- they look just like hydrangeas...." That's how you do that. Or at least, how I do that- lol.

It's a gorgeous piece here already- you can be well-pleased with it as is. You have a nice painterly form, and the whole piece sings with light and whimsy.

08-20-2004, 12:09 PM
I have to agree, I like the crop and recognize those as Sweet Williams (the flower that is) and realized a long time ago that there was no way I could figure out how to paint them and have them look like that flower. So... I say to you... congratulations -well done!!!

Can you put it away for a few weeks and then dig it out to see what it may need or if you'll have fresher eyes. It sometimes works for me.


08-20-2004, 12:58 PM
You need to start picking out individual flowers and give them form through the use of value. Also, decide which ones should come forward more and give those more contrast. See attached. This is going to be a VERY nice piece.