View Full Version : Gun Crews Revised and Revising

Jim Updegraff
02-20-2005, 09:16 AM
This piece was previously posted in the Critique Forum and received the benefit of a fair amount of criticism. It is being revised. The general tone if the whole painting is darker, the pointed butts blunted, some heads shrunk and torsos enlarged. The deck beams have been lowered and the cannon in the foreground raised to reduce the space. It still a long way from done but comments will be gratefully accepted.





02-20-2005, 05:21 PM
Looking good Jim!
Watch the guy in the forground under the lantern; at this stage his pole (sword?) looks like it might be hitting the next guy in the head.
I'm reaaly a bit in awe of how you regroup and correct things so well.

Jim Updegraff
02-20-2005, 09:56 PM
It is a rammer staff. The thing the guy at the muzzle uses to stuff the powder charge and cannon ball down the gun tube. The guy you see is passing the staff to the guy at the muzzle who has to hang out of the gun port to do his job. There are a couple of them along with a sponge laying on the deck and the man in the white shirt with his back to the viewer is holding one, too. I think there is too much head room, but there is not much I can do about that now.

Incidently, I just saw Master and Commander, the movie, for the first time. It has only a very little to do with the OíBrien novel of that name, or any other for that matter. Still, very impressive and as far as I can tell about as close to accurate as we can expect as far as the working of the ship and great guns are concerned.

Thank you for your comments, Spyderbabe.

02-26-2005, 04:02 PM
Hi Jim, this is very impressive. The one thing which really troubles me is the size of the Petty Officers head. It is about 1 to 6 at present and therefore too big. If you google Vitruvian Proportions you'll see what I mean.


Jim Updegraff
03-01-2005, 11:37 PM
Thank you Mikey. I recognize that the left hand guyís head is too big. The trouble is Iím tired of messing with this thing and Iím growing more and more dissatisfied with it. :mad:

Itís is way too spacious. The overhead is too high. It is too bright. It isnít crowded enough. The seamen are too pretty Ė there are all Billy Budd, the Handsome Foretopman. They arenít dirty and sweaty enough. They look like suburban stock brokers on a Barefoot Cruse. They are too damned clean. I know what a gun crew looks like Ė in my youth I spent more time at the breech of a 105mm gun than was good for my hearing. I know what I want this thing to look like but I don't seem to be able to get it there right now.

I think Iíll set this thing aside for a while to see if any enthusiasm returns.

03-02-2005, 05:39 AM
Hi Jim, I'm really feeling for you her because this painting seems to be quite important to you. However, I think that neat cleaness will be part of your epistimology and so creative self. To do anything else will be against the grain.


03-02-2005, 09:20 AM
I think Iíll set this thing aside for a while to see if any enthusiasm returns.

Jim, youíve done a fantastic job with this painting, so donít let a few troublesome details spoil your fun. Set it aside until you can look at it without being blinded by the flaws.

The next time around, you could try a different approach to the figures: focus on conveying their emotion and story through body language alone, since long before the viewer zooms in to look at facial features, theyíll have instantly read the figuresí poses. Think of them as actors on a stage rather than actors in a close-up zoom on a movie.

Anyway, take pride in what youíve accomplished. Youíve done great.

[edit] I just has a lightbulb thought on grunginess. I bet you could get a really, really grunge-covered look if you were to paint this scene in colors close to monochrome, with only a little extra color added to skin tones and objects that had some sort of colorful paint on them, such as the (dunno what to call Ďem) gun holders. Then, to fight the dullness of the monochrome, you could use colored light-sources to get color back into the image. But this is something that would probably work best when done from the outset. If you want to add in more dirt to this image, I would guess that glazing dirty splotches over everything that looks clean and bright might be the best approach. But Iím no oil painter, so take this advice with salt!

Jim Updegraff
03-02-2005, 07:29 PM
Having been bucked up by Mikey and Quiet, we will have a fresh start at this. With luck, patience and poor vision it should be more claustrophobic, grittier, darker and more authentic that the last attempt. Here is the preliminary drawing and blocking. No comments about pointy butts, if you please.


03-02-2005, 10:48 PM
*jaw drop*

Go you! Aparently I could learn a thing or two about art endurance from you. i need to whine about my paintings less, and paint more.

Good luck!

03-03-2005, 04:37 AM
Jim, please accept my apologies for any discouragement, which really is not what I want to do. You are showing tremendous determination with this one, so I'm betting this will take you through to the next level in your work.


Jim Updegraff
03-03-2005, 08:13 AM
Mikey, no apology is necessary or even appropriate. ďBucked upĒ is American for ďto encourage.Ē You have been a help and that is appreciated. If I didnít want criticism I wouldnít have posted in a critique forum.

03-04-2005, 07:31 PM
The artist's restrictions leave me little to say :angel: but this promises to be claustrophic and hectic and I'm betting it will have great light and lots of grunge.

Jim Updegraff
03-06-2005, 10:59 PM
The second assault on this painting continues apace. I am glad I watched Master and Commander.


03-07-2005, 12:21 AM
Hi, I was reading through this thread, and I just stopped to say that I'm looking forward to seeing the finished product of the second painting it looks like it will be great :D May I also say congrats on that barn I saw in another thread I am a very country girl and whenever I see a painting of a barn I juust love it! I also admire your ability to revise :clap:

03-07-2005, 06:29 AM
Hi Jim, I think it is true to say that in every field of human endeavour the mass of humanity will come up against a wall where further progress seems impossible. There are those who have the belief in themselves to push through to just that margin of difference. That seems to be what you are doing here. I am sure this will show in everything else you do.

I have found this to be true in other areas of my life and now to the paint.


Jim Updegraff
03-12-2005, 11:22 PM
A little progress.


Anita Murphy
03-13-2005, 12:25 AM
A little? I'd hate to see your definition of a lot *LOL*
This has changed completely. I thought it was great before but it has come on enormously.

03-15-2005, 03:59 PM
Losing the window didnt really matter at all. The peek at the bottom of the stairs on the left gives us a hint of 'below decks' and that space emphasizes how crowded togther the men are. A HUGE difference!

Jim Updegraff
03-31-2005, 07:06 PM
Here is a little more work on this thing. Iíve got to get some smoke in the air and a good muzzle flash someplace in the background and clean up the figures, the basic anatomy and drape of the clothing. Another week or so I suppose barring a rush of work on the day job or another visit from/to the grandbaby Ė cunning little thing that she is.





Jim Updegraff
04-03-2005, 08:34 PM
I think this thing is done. Iíll pop it up in the oil painting forum and see if it will fight its guns over there.


Anita Murphy
04-04-2005, 01:16 PM
Wonderful Jim
I've enjoyed watching the progression of this!

04-04-2005, 01:19 PM
Jim, great job! As a former member of a Naval 5 inch gun crew, I tend to think that the play of light and shadows might add an interesting part in getting the setting to where you want it. I know those gun turrent pits were spooky..<<GRIN>>