PDA

View Full Version : How do artists manage to get that last finish?


Unni
03-17-2001, 05:06 AM
I've tried invain to get that last and final finish in my oil paintings, especially portraits. Good artists manage to get that photorealistic effect in their paintings, like for instance Alex Levin in his work at http://artphoto.hypermart.net/gallery5.html

I just keep wondering how these artists manage to do that. Can any experienced artist guide me in getting the same?

Unni

m_a_r_t_i_n
03-19-2001, 06:02 PM
First you must learn to see, then you must learn to draw, then you must learn to paint, then you must learn to bring all these things togeather, then you will be ready to begin learning.
Though if all you seek is photorealism my advice is to buy a camera and save yourself alot of hassle.
On the other hand should you seek realism, this is a different matter.
There is no easy answer. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif


[This message has been edited by m_a_r_t_i_n (edited March 19, 2001).]

Unni
03-20-2001, 05:32 AM
Thanks M_a_r_t_i_n for your advice. I think I got the innermost meaning of your advice. This is one reason why most artists nowadays tend to move away from the photorealistic concept which was very much appreciated by the great masters of the past.

Unni

belladonna
04-25-2001, 09:45 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by m_a_r_t_i_n:
[B]Though if all you seek is photorealism my advice is to buy a camera and save yourself a lot of hassle.
On the other hand should you seek realism, this is a different matter.]
Dear Martin: I do believe that Unni is talking about technique rather than style;
"photo realistic EFFECT". A photo will never capture surrealism, or romantic realism or fantasy.

Dear Unni: Good tonal balance, highlights, reflected lights, blending with soft brushes, the right amount of selective detail, and a good eye, all combined, give that photo realistic effect. You must be able to visualize the subject, start with a good drawing, then the right colors, with a subject that you know inside and out. Keep the lighting in mind. Work on different textures, hair, skin, metal, velvet, rocks ..... It will all come together for you in time if you are willing to work at it. Study masters that you like, perhaps Rembrant, Leonardo, Boris, or Dali .... who ever you admire that use the techniques you like. Look at their work and you will find the answers right there. Study them and experiment with what you find. You can do it!

Unni
04-26-2001, 05:55 AM
Thank you Belladona. I would say yours was an excellent piece of advice, the best I've received so far on wetcanvas.

Thanks once again.
Unni

Keith Russell
04-27-2001, 04:13 PM
Yes, if you want to paint realistic subjects in a realistic manner, you might be better off buying a camera.

But--

--if you wish to paint non-real subjects in a realistic manner--

--ya just gotta do the work!

Keith.

------------------
Keith Russell
Synthetic Sky Studios
Science Fiction Fine Art
[email protected]
artkc.com/russelk.htm

m_a_r_t_i_n
05-04-2001, 06:41 PM
This is one reason why most artists nowadays tend to move away from the photorealistic concept which was very much appreciated by the great masters of the past.

Unni[/B]

I don't recal seeing any photorealistic work by any of the great past masters. Many worked highly realistic, but not to my knowledge photorealistic.
Below is a hand study I did in what I would consider to be a photorealistic style, nowhere do you see this in any old masters, this style of painting has no appeal, it offers nothing, it is not good art.

<IMG SRC="http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-May-2001/hand1.jpg" border=0>

Unni
05-05-2001, 05:43 AM
Martin,

Your hand study is a good one. Though you may not consider it "good art", it shows that you can perform. Doesn't "Monalisa" offer anything? Don't you call it realistic painting? I honestly believe it depends on the subject matter also.

Let us stop debating on the terms "realistic" and "photorealistic". Belladona has rightly conveyed what I meant:

Quote:

"Dear Martin: I do believe that Unni is talking about technique rather than style; "photo realistic EFFECT". A photo will never capture surrealism, or romantic realism or fantasy."

Hope this is taken in the right spirit.

Unni

Luis Guerreiro
05-17-2001, 12:37 AM
Originally posted by Unni:
I've tried invain to get that last and final finish in my oil paintings, especially portraits. Good artists manage to get that photorealistic effect in their paintings, like for instance Alex Levin in his work at http://artphoto.hypermart.net/gallery5.html

I just keep wondering how these artists manage to do that. Can any experienced artist guide me in getting the same?

Unni
The web site above, 4th row, 1st painting on the left hand side ("The Sick Daughter").
Wow!!! That is such a fab work. I like it a lot, there is an appeal to it. More than photorealistic effect, what I admire is the light, the combination of the drawing with the light and the role of colour in it. Just great stuff. I am not concerned about photorealism, but yes i do agree with the importance of the EFFECT.

belladonna
05-19-2001, 11:48 AM
Went to see the url above. The painting in question is beautiful!

m_a_r_t_i_n
05-19-2001, 07:20 PM
Unni, should you still desire a photograph effect my suggestion would
be to try airbrushing, here is an artist that may interest you... http://www.drublair.com/
...personally, emotionally, I feel no more effected by this kind of
work than I do flicking through the photo's in some magazine, there's
actually very little difference.
Oh by the way, that hand study I did above, I'm glad you like it but
I did it on my computers scanner so really I can't take any credit
for it. I would have painted it myself only artistically I find my
talents are no match for that of my scanner http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/wink.gif

Keith Russell
05-29-2001, 12:55 AM
M_A_R_T_I_N:

The 'hand' study is probably not 'art' to you, because it doesn't 'say' much; beyond being a nice hand, there isn't much there.

Whose hand is it, why is it in the position it's in, what is the person, whose hand it is, doing/feeling/experiencing?

These concepts are what makes realisitc art 'good'. They may not always be answered explicitly, but the viewer does want more information than just 'here's a hand'.

Yet, a painting done in this exact same style, but which offered some sort of emotional connection to its subject, or which had a strong sense of tension between what was revealed by the style, and yet left the viewer wondering about those things which were not explained (or shown) in the painting, could easily be considered 'art'--even possibly 'good' art.

Keith.

------------------
Keith Russell
Synthetic Sky Studios
Science Fiction Fine Art
[email protected]
artkc.com/russelk.htm

TMoore
05-29-2001, 10:02 AM
I know what your talking about. I went through the same question myself. For years I have collected photos and clippings of portraits and organized the ones that have impressed me into a binder. One of the tabbed sections is specifically set aside for pieces that caught my eye because the level of draftsmanship was so high that you couldn't distinguish them from photographs. I have spent hours studying the pieces in that section. My draftsmanship has improved because of it.

Recently, I went through the entire collection (now two inches thick) and just for fun selected what I felt were the top 50 portraits. You know what? Not one of the them made it into the 50. Those that made it had something beyond what the camera can 'see'. I recommend studying those high draftsmanship paintings - absolutely. But more importatantly, you should study what gives a painting that quality beyond draftsmanship. I think this is what everyone is trying to say. Begin a collection as I have described above. When you get the pieces laid out all side-by side you will begin to see the elements that take a painting into the 'special'category. Then you have the work of learning to do it too - an activity to last a lifetime!

If you like the binder idea and want to learn more about it see the 'tools of the trade' thread in the Portraiture Forum.

Hope this helps!

Tammy

[This message has been edited by TMoore (edited May 29, 2001).]

TMoore
05-29-2001, 10:43 AM
The answer to your question related to finish/technique is pretty broad. There are so many elements to get it - could write 30-40 pages probably. If we could see some of your work mabey we could be more specific as to specific areas of what you need related to getting that 'finish. I am new here but I have seen your name, Unni, many times. I have tried to access examples of your work in past threads. There are 171 posts that the search brought up. So far I have made it through page 1 - had to get off line for a few moments and the search bookmark didn't work. help! Can you post some examples of your work here. I have found one landscape so far.

Personally, I have worked rather exclusively in portraiture and would probably do more harm than good if giving advice in anything but... Post some portraits in with what you do list here and mabey I can help.

[This message has been edited by TMoore (edited May 30, 2001).]

Unni
06-05-2001, 04:23 PM
Thanks Keith for your note.

Tammy, thanks for your detailed write-up. It helps really.

Besides the landscape, I have only posted two entries at wetcanvas. Please check them out at:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/Forum21/HTML/004297.html
http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/Forum21/HTML/003495.html

I don't know whether these are directly relevant to the subject under discussion. I am glad there has been real good response for this topic. Thanks to all, Martin included.

Unni

m_a_r_t_i_n
06-09-2001, 09:15 PM
One suggestion I can make as far as a good finish is concerned is that the surface you are working on should be of the high finish you seek in the final work.
The finish your brushstrokes have is determined 90% by the surface they are painted on. Paint on a flat rough surface and your finish will be horrible and grainy, paint on a glass smooth surface and your finish will be smooth and sickly, you should aim for a surface which has just the right level of absorbancy, has a nice canvas texture but which isn't rough that has an eggshell smooth finish, I like the surface to be smooth but around the edges left rougher, I believe the surface should also possess character, not machine produced crap, it should look hand made, there should be as much artistry put into the production of the paintings support as into the painting.

Unni
06-10-2001, 05:44 AM
Thanks Martin for your response.

I think you are right, for I've had the "finish problem" when I work on rough canvas while it's much better when I work on oil sketching sheets (this surface has better finish than ordinary canvas).

Thanks anyway.

Unni

Verdaccio
06-10-2001, 11:50 AM
Unni:

I don't really think that you can get a "final finish" in the way you may be thinking. Your "finish" I believe is built from the ground up in the attention and care that you give to each element and step of the painting. I paint for high realism and in a traditional manner.

The one thing that has really helped me is the study of values. Values are the tones of gray between black and white - I use nine steps. I do a complete underpainting in nothing but gray (gray-green: Verdaccio) on all of my paintings. Your eye perceives form first and color second. The study of value could take an entire topic on its own, but suffice it to say that the realism of your subject in your paintings will be highly dependent on the accurate rendering of the values of the form.

Hope that helps! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

------------------
Michael Georges
www.fineportraitsinoil.com (http://www.fineportraitsinoil.com)

Unni
06-10-2001, 01:47 PM
Hi Michael,

I looked up your website and I should say your paintings are marvellous. I just love your painting done in high realism and traditionalism. I think I should take tips from you on how to achieve this. Your note on the importance of values as compared to color is helpful.

There are quite a few artists who go against realism and feel that photographs are better to be looked at. I would like to hear from them on what they have to say about your work entitled "The Storybook" at your website. For sure, I am not against realistic work. I belive one can achieve better realism in painting than what could be captured by the most sophisticated camera. But it needs constant practice and perseverence.

Unni

Verdaccio
06-10-2001, 02:58 PM
Originally posted by Unni:
Hi Michael,

I looked up your website and I should say your paintings are marvellous. I just love your painting done in high realism and traditionalism. I think I should take tips from you on how to achieve this. Your note on the importance of values as compared to color is helpful.

There are quite a few artists who go against realism and feel that photographs are better to be looked at. I would like to hear from them on what they have to say about your work entitled "The Storybook" at your website. For sure, I am not against realistic work. I belive one can achieve better realism in painting than what could be captured by the most sophisticated camera. But it needs constant practice and perseverence.

Unni

Hello again Unni:

Thanks for the kind words about my work! I paint for "realism" not "photorealism". The difference is that none of my paintings will ever look like a photograph even though I often use photos for reference. A camera is just a tool - like any other tool. Anyone who scoffs a camera as a tool for painting clearly has never tried to paint a squirming 3 year old or bank president. The one doesn't have the patience to sit still - the other doesn't have the time! Painting from life is great, but it too has limitations - models are expensive, people who are paying you don't have the time.



------------------
Michael Georges
www.fineportraitsinoil.com (http://www.fineportraitsinoil.com)

Unni
06-11-2001, 04:08 PM
I agree with you 100% Michael.

Unni

m_a_r_t_i_n
06-11-2001, 04:19 PM
Originally posted by Verdaccio:
Unni:

Your "finish" I believe is built from the ground up in the attention and care that you give to each element and step of the painting.



This is what I meant by my comments on working off a good support, concentrate quality at every stage from the ground up, don't leave finish as something to be done right at the very end, the final polish is actually developed through the layers, which starts with making the right support, I havn't found any supports available ready made to be of particular good quality compared to a good hand made support, it's a shame because making supports gets pretty boring not to mention eats up painting time, but then that's the price of quality I guess. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/crying.gif http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/evilgrin.gif

Unni
06-12-2001, 07:16 AM
Thanks m_a_r_t_i_n for your comments.

Unni

sarkana
06-12-2001, 10:46 AM
i agree in general with most of the advice that's been posted for you so far, esp. the advice to use soft brushes for blending and pick out selective details.

here's how i paint, and though i'm not aiming for photorealism, this technique can certainly be used for that end:

1) use nice wood panels or portrait-finish canvas.

2) use a good ground and sand between coats if the gesso is sandable (never sand lead!)

3) block in your painting with a layer or opaque or earth colors. best results with white and black and maybe one "brown".

4) layer transparent glazes of color over the black and white painting. each glaze should be dry before applying the next one.

5) use subsequent layers to adjust colors, paint in some details, obscure others.

6) when the painting is completely dry (and i can't emphasise this enough: DRY) varnish with a thick coat of 5 lb cut damar, preferably homemade. i use a little melted beeswax in mine for a matte finish.

this is an updated version of an old technique called 'chiaoscuro' or black and white. i've used it to great effect. and once you get the rhythms of the layering down, making paintings becomes almost as easy as making cookies!

------------------
http://store.yahoo.com/sarkana

robinsn
06-19-2001, 10:59 PM
Here's a different viewpoint on a possible contributor to your trouble. I mention it because I just went through something similar.

I was struggling with different techniques that should be simple - getting detail without getting mud, blending smoothly, etc. I found that when i switched to a really good brand of paint (I tried lots of brands to find it) that these techniques suddenly became MUCH easier for me!

So, I've found that good materials are a bigger part of the equation than I imagined!

sarkana
07-04-2001, 12:45 PM
...with the last post. quality materials produce quality work. or to put it another way: its easier to be a genius if you aren't always fighting against substandard materials. you have more time to actually paint!

i'm such a materials snob that i make my own! even acrylic gesso! its the only way to be sure of what you are getting. and if one isn't as psychotically driven to paint purity as myself, at least find a small vendor who can be trusted not to adulterate or otherwise f*ck with the natural beauty of the materials.

Unni
07-13-2001, 03:45 AM
Thanks Sarkana for your comments and suggestions. BTW, where can I get more info on the 'chiaoscuro' technique you mentioned?

Robinsn, I agree with you on the good brand of paints for a good finish. Since you have tried lots of brands, can you suggest the one that appealed to you most, especially in Oils if you have tried them?

Thanks

Unni

robinsn
07-13-2001, 09:43 AM
Hi Unni,

I found that Blockx oil paint was the best for me. I love them! You can read more about this at http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=2518 where we had a pretty long discussion about brands.

Unni
07-19-2001, 11:57 AM
Thanks Robinsn for the link.

Unni

bbbilly1326
07-29-2001, 03:05 AM
Originally posted by Unni
I've tried invain to get that last and final finish in my oil paintings, especially portraits.
I just keep wondering how these artists manage to do that. Can any experienced artist guide me in getting the same?

Unni

I don't paint in a realistic technique, more Impressionist, but I've done a lot of portraits that people like. Of course, the facial proportions are most important for the likeness, and you have to know all the other basics, but I do a couple of things for finishing to make the portraits "dazzle." One thing is to adjust the values so the lights pop out and the darks are rich and warm. But the other thing I do as the very last thing is to add small touches of pure complementary colors where the eye barely picks them up but they serve to intensify the areas they are in. Here's an example, and notice the areas of pure green under the chin and in the hair, adjoining areas of red or reddish brown. I do this using all the complementaries and also contrasting warm and cool colors. Again, from viewing distance the eye hardly picks up the individual color touches, but is dazzled by the complementary contrasts.

This is the facial detail of a large portrait (oil on linen, approx 2'x3'). Hope it's helpful:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Jul-2001/yvesclosefinal.JPG