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Masque
08-04-2005, 01:10 PM
Hi, Wanting very much to try a new direction I've been studying lots of good stuff about painting landscapes, color harmony and color theory (sources recommended by WC friends), besides looking through old photos and taking new ones here on California's Northern coast and the North Carolina countryside. Plus I've been sketching a bunch. I've even signed up for a workshop with Judith Cunningham here in Mendocino in early September. Am I excited? Duh! But now, I think it might be time I get my feet wet and make a modest start in this endeavor.

I've tried to choose a challenging (for me) but simple design that requires aerial perspective while also allowing me to combine images and ideas from several very old (over 40 years) and very special 4x6 vacation photos of my twin girls. The inspiration for including them was their surprise birthday visit which set my daughters and I looking a their baby pictures and laughing a lot, and yes, crying some too. The painting is for the little girl filling the bucket in the scene below in honor of her 45th birthday.

For right now at least, I'm asking for input on my design while my painting is still very much in the planning stage. I've set the time of day at late afternoon, the sky is clear and the sun has softened as it has dropped a little in the sky and coming in on the viewers left. I'd like to aim for a mood that is comfortable, calm, sentimental, but happy too. I'd like the viewer to sense the activity here and see themselves or someone they love and think, "awhhhhh!" It was my intent to resolve any composition issues in the Color& Design Forum and then move to this forum for color harmony help, but the responses in C&DF have been fewer and slower than I'd hoped so decided to move on to SPF sooner rather than later.

This particular sketch (one of many) will hopefully serve as the combined transfer drawing/full size value study for an 18x24 pastel painting I'm planning to do on green Ampersand pastel board. I apologize up front for picking such a poor paper color for my sketch (but the price was right).

One last thing. I recogize I may have made the figures too large, but hoping I can make that work as I wanted to give maximum expression to the standing figure's face and couldn't seem to catch any thing of a "pleased with myself total concentration" in my smaller sketches. Any input would be greatly appreciated and please don't feel it need be limited to what's been noted.

Thanks for looking and sharing with me.

paulb
08-04-2005, 01:27 PM
Very nice sketch - I actually think the paper adds to it... dunno why! And it's nice to see some more poeple-painting going on in the pastel forum! (Admittedly, I'm a bit of an irregula here, so I might have missed some of it...)

Look forward to see how you're getting on!

Paul.

angecald
08-04-2005, 02:52 PM
This is looking delightful so far. I wouldn't worry about the colour of the sketch paper. My only nitpick would be that the child on the left is heading out of the picture, which pulls my eye too far over that way. If you put something at her feet, a bucket perhaps, that might stop the slide. They do look beautifully childlike and happily intent on their play. I'll be pulling up a chair to watch this one.

Deborah Secor
08-04-2005, 06:36 PM
I think this will be a wonderful gift! My suggestion is that you swap the positions of the two kids, so that the standing one is facing the squatting child. That way the focus would be more intimate and interlocked. The standing girl's head will not 'kiss' the skyline, and the overlap of her head and the background would interconnect near and far, which always gives more of a sense of depth. Just a thought for you to consider.

Deborah

Masque
08-04-2005, 07:55 PM
My genuine thanks to both of you (Agnes & Deborah). Wonderful suggestions that open up my options and really have helped me.

Agnes, I had been giving serious thought to making the bucket a focal point by giving it the brightest color in the painting. Your suggestion made me think of using a little shovel at her feet protruding at a 45 degree angle from the sand with it's handle and shadow pointing inward. In one preliminary sketch I had reversed the standing figure showing her moving toward the kneeling figure, but in that comp I feel I lost the suggestion of activity going on outside the painting; something I thought at the time maybe added a little charming drama to the scene? Making it more interesting?

Deborah, Your suggestion solved several issues that were bothering me. Besides making for a better interlocking, more intimate connection, as you said, it would eliminate that tension with the skyline kiss, as well as letting me keep the bucket as a better placed focal point and not having to risk a competing focal point.

I'm going to do more sketches and explore both ideas to see what I feel best says what I want to say. You guys got my brain to twitch a little again. I was feeling pretty blocked and that's so darned frustrating (as we all know so well). Thanks so much.

funkie
08-04-2005, 08:07 PM
Gloria I think the smaller child is too small for the distance between them. Her body age doesn't seem any different that the larger figure so I think she either needs to be larger or further away.

Mags

Simon Bland
08-04-2005, 09:19 PM
I really like your design process - sketching out the composition before starting layout on your (green) board.

You could also try a quick pen & ink/watercolor sketch when you decide on the composition - I find that it's so much easier to start a pastel work if I've already tried out my color choices first. It will only take 30 mins or so, but can potentially save you days of work further down the line.

Simon

Masque
08-05-2005, 06:28 PM
Deborah, Well, swapping the places of the 2 kids indeed solved the problem of the sky kiss edge and made the scenario more intimate by interlocking the 2 figures. Although in doing that, to my surprise, the narrative and consequently the mood were changed far more than I liked, and no longer told the viewer of their separate but intense concentration. They shared a beach, the water, a moment, but their absorbtion in what they were doing was totally separate from each other. Twins are pretty special in that way. These things, and the mystery of what they had in mind is what I remember about that day and what I want to share.

So, I decided to keep their original positions as is and drop the horizon to allow her head to overlap the background just enough to (hopefully) eliminate any sky kiss and show an interconnect. I hope. On the positive side, it will give me a little more sky and that, I think, will be good. I may have to change the shape of the hill behind her head so the curve of the mountain differs more from the curve of her head.

Even though I know a figure moving toward the the edge can pull the viewer out of the picture I think it could also cause the viewer to stop and to wonder where she's so intent on going and why. I hope. So I'm opting for now to leave that as is too.

Agnes, I found anything I put in front of her feet was a distraction and also interfered with the narrative and the mood. I do plan on adding some texture to the beach which will help with a question about her downward focus.

Mags, I do plan to deal with the subtle distance problem between the 2 girls with value and color to push the squatting kid further away.

Simon, I learned the process from the folks at WC, books and trial and error. I will take your suggestion and try a color sketch before transferring to the green pastel board. Pastel on canson, I think. I totally agree trying out chosen colors saves not just time, but often disappointment too. I find my imagination has it's own color palette, which, unfortunately often works better in my head than on canvas. I have to say, though, your a whole lot faster than I am. :D

I recognize my decisions are risky and my viewer may only see a bad composition, but I'll not know unless I try. Now I think I'll put the sketch away for a day or two and see what fresh eyes can see.

See you next with a color sketch. Thanks again, so much for sharing your time, your thoughts and your ideas with me. It's been not only helpful, but fun too. :wave:

jackiesimmonds
08-06-2005, 04:09 AM
Gloria, the drawing of the children is excellent, and your thought process is excellent too, I can see that you are really working at getting the atmosphere to be just as you would like it to be.

However, can I just point out that one of the main things that helps to create atmosphere in an image is NOT good drawing, or even placement of shapes.

It is TONE VALUES.

and your sketch, which is so nicely drawn, lacks the pattern of light and dark shapes/masses within the rectangle,( not just the individual tone of an arm or leg.) Your sketch only shows linear outline, which is simply not enough. This is because the arrangement of dark, medium and light passages in an image is the basic foundation on which a painting is constructed and has a HUGE impact on the finished effect. This, plus the correct colour harmony and balance, sets the mood and feeling of the painting.

Tones can be distributed throughout the image in a number of ways and there are certain things to bear in mind - here are three points.

1.A picture with predominantly light tones throughout will have a light-hearted, cheerful feel to it.

2. A picure with predominantly dark tones throughout will have a quieter, more sedate feel to it, with more of a feeling of closeness of space throughout..

3.A picture which has little contrast in it will look very different to a pic which has exactly the same content, but with lots of contrast in terms of tones.

To help illustrate what I am saying, have a look at these two images I found in one of my books:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Aug-2005/1805-tonal_distribution.jpg

Forgetting the question of atmosphere for the minute, let's just look at these two sketches. On the left, we have a linear drawing. We do not know, from this, whether the chap serving is darker or lighter than the background behind him. We do not know that the arm of the girl on the right is in fact light against the dark shadow beyond. We do not know that the tickets on the fruit are darker than the background. We cannot see how nicely the dark shapes within the picture link so well, and take our eye from left to right. Putting simple, flat tones onto a line drawing immediately helps to explain the scene, and provides some of the drama of light and dark shapes within a rectangle.

You have worked on a toned ground, which is a really good way to start. Now you can add in some white conte, for the really lightest parts of your picture, and some charcoal, for example, for the darkest parts. Work broadly, allowing shapes to knit together as in the example above.. Allow the colour of the paper to be the middle tones - there will probably be lots of middle and light tones in this image, if you want a feeling of happiness.

Getting back to atmosphere:
Look at these two finished pieces. The first one has large areas of DARK tone, doesn't it. Big, dramatic shapes which frame the small area of somewhat lighter tones in the middle.(tho nothing is actually "light" in tone, the image is based on middle-to-dark tones)
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Aug-2005/1805-dancer_in_the_wings.JPG

see how the atmosphere of that one is COMPLETELY different to this one, which is predominantly light tones surrounding a tiny area of darker tone:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Aug-2005/1805-ANNAROSE2.jpg

Finally, I wonder why you want this aerial perspective element in this picture. You seem to want a feeling of intimacy ... which is, to my mind, somewhat at odds with great depth of space.
Look at this pic. There was, in r.l., a big jetty in the background and the rest of the village...but I wanted a feeling of an intimate moment, the childrens' concentration totally focussed on the water - so I cut out all the background peripheral stuff, which, I feel, helped to focus the viewer's eye right on those kids and what they were up to, which to my way of thinking, best echoes the feeling of intimacy of the moment:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Aug-2005/1805-on_the_jetty4.jpg

whereas this one is not only about the kids but also the interesting tidal beach in front of them, and is far less intimate:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Aug-2005/1805-Diggingsmall.jpg

Food for thought, perhaps?

However, the most important part of this post though is the bit about tone values. I hope I have made it clear enough and haven't confused you.
jackie

Masque
08-06-2005, 02:23 PM
...Food for thought, perhaps?

However, the most important part of this post though is the bit about tone values. I hope I have made it clear enough and haven't confused you.
jackie


Thanks, Jackie, and please know that any all comment and/or direction from you is most emphatically welcomed. I believe that all your friends on WC feel that way. To have you even respond to a post is an honor and a genuine compliment.

Now, having said that, hearing from you that my drawing is good and I'm on track is very encouraging. One of the first things I learned in my art experience is the importance of getting my drawing right "before" I even consider painting.

And, yes, every book, every source I've had the luck to come across lately stresses the importance of "TONE VALUES." I'm now well aware of their importance--just not so sure if I read values correctly or exactly how to to use them. Up until I became interested in trying to paint landscapes I've kinda gone by instinct--sorta the "seat-of-the-pants" method. I actually tried to give in this last graphite drawing tone value; obviously I've not taken it near far enough. I'll get out my black and white conte and try again.

Your illustrations really clarify for me how tone sets atmosphere and creates a mood no matter the subject. I could easily imagine reversing the tones on your two beautiful ballerina paintings and how it could change the entire feel of the piece. Fascinating.

To respond to your question about why I want the arial perspective element in my picture in the first place? Let me try to explain. I originally started out wanting to paint a landscape. My intent was to explore aerial perspective and attempt to apply some of what I've recently learned from books and looking at the works of others. I see now that I've let my natural pull toward the more intimate perspective influence me too much. When I came across the photos of my twins I really wanted to include them in my picture. I think that might have been OK if I hadn't compounded the issue. If you saw my series of sketches you would see how they grew with each subsequent sketch to totally dominate the scene. Your 2 wonderful examples of kids on beaches make it clear that I need to make some changes here if I want to focus the viewers eye on the intimacy of that moment. I'd best get rid of the "peripheral stuff" or else downsize those kids a bunch and forget the intimacy of the moment. At the bare minimum a good more expermental sketching is in order.

So, the process continues. Yes, Jackie, definitely food for thought. Your so good at that. Your a wonderful teacher, and I can say that with some authority. Though not a teacher myself, I have been closely involved with teachers as well as education in general all my 70+ years.

jackiesimmonds
08-07-2005, 02:30 AM
And, yes, every book, every source I've had the luck to come across lately stresses the importance of "TONE VALUES." I'm now well aware of their importance--just not so sure if I read values correctly or exactly how to to use them.

Gloria, understanding tone values is not that complicated - I believe people make it more complicated than it is.

There are some good threads about tone values in the library - one called "Carly - colour by value?" - do see if you can find it. I offer some exercises to try, if yu read down.

Basically, it's all about how light, or dark, things are. If you were dealing with just one thing, you would have no problem. An apple, on a table with a white cloth, with a light shining on one side of it ... easy peasy.

Problems occur when people try to construct a painting. They tackle the drawing, as you did, understanding the importance of correct outlines. But they fail to put in the tones, and as a result, it is impossible to know whether the objects are darker, or lighter, than their surroundings, and how much darker, or lighter. Here is a little thumbnail sketch, with most of the tone values in place, so that the sketch shows fairly well how the painting might "balance" in terms of its light and dark elements:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Aug-2005/1805-bluebell_woods_thumb.jpg

From this, it is easy to work out which bits of the picture will be darker than other bits, and how the dark or the light shapes hang together.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Aug-2005/1805-floral2.jpghttp://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Aug-2005/1805-sketch_for_calling_home.jpg

the pencil drawings are no bigger than a few inches, so they didn't take too long to do, but they really give a helpful idea of how the painting might look in the end. The charcoal one is bigger, took longer, but I felt I needed it as a base for a big painting. I look out for things like "counterchange" ...where I can use a nice bright light against a dark area; I look to see how I can "mass" tones together; I try to establish some rhythms and echoing shapes. It takes time to learn all these things, but never fear, you will get there.

Jackie

Orchidacea
08-07-2005, 08:48 AM
Gloria and Jackie - Thank you for this wonderful and very clearly understandable lesson. Gloria, the way you've shared your thought process as you've worked on your composition has been enlightening for me. And Jackie, this explanation of value, and the importance of value in a larger context, actually makes sense to me. It was an "aha" moment, and I thank you!

I'll be waiting to see the painting that arises from this discussion. Even in the drawing, your love for the subjects shines through.

Masque
08-07-2005, 10:09 AM
Jackie I've just spent a happy couple of hours in PRL with the "Carley - Color by Value?" thread. What an wonderful and enlightening experience that was. It's a thread that I will copy today for my new "Values" reference folder, and one that will be revisited frequently as I work toward getting comfortable with the values concept. After doing that I'm going to start those mini pencil value sketches you suggested. You've told me it takes time and to learn what I need to know; that I understand. To hear you say, "never fear, you will get there"; that was tonic.

On another note: Have you ever thought of doing a workshop in the US, particularly here in California at the Mendocino Coast Art Center? It's an exceptionlly beautiful peaceful area with a small but very active art community. Because it offers so much beauty it pulls artists from all over the world. San Francisco is our nearest major art center, but we see artists from New York as well.

Kim Do give the above reverence "Carley" thread a serious look--well worth your time and I know your'll enjoy it. A real Keeper.

Stay well, friends, and I'll see you all later. For awhile I expect to be immersed in some serious sketching. :wave:

khourianya
08-07-2005, 10:49 AM
This is going to be gorgeous when it is done...I'll be keeping an eye out for updates :D

Masque
08-08-2005, 04:42 PM
Moving right along...

What I've learned? Thumbnail value sketches are an integral part of the planning process and extremely worthwhile. I've included for comment a thumbnail of each design I seriously considered along with an image of the color of my pastel board (Ampersand Green). Hope your monitors give enough information. If you see or read anything that's off track with my image or my plan, (or not clear) please let me know. Thanks.

Still need lots of practice on drawing value sketch thumbnails, but now I see their importance and have a far better idea of their benefits. With each successive sketch I gained confidence and made decisions with less hesitation. I became increasingly more aware of where I was going--the actually working out of where I wanted to use my darks and lights, my colors and how I wanted to integrate my values. Now, the next step. Picking my palette.

I've decided to leave the aerial perspective in my design. I feel that though it adds nothing to the intimacy of the moment I'm after, I don't believe it detracts either. That intimacy is still very much there and I find that I simply like the sense of place it gives the little scenario, and the contrast it provides between the far fixed mass of the hills and the closeness of the two girls. Plus I think it will give me opportunity to stretch myself and learn more about placement, perspective, colors, contrasts and values.

Working with Hal Reid's Analogous Color-wheel my color picks are:

Dominate value - light
Dominate temperature - cool
Intensity - bright, but not too bright
Light source - viewers left and moderately high
Center of interest - center to viewers right
Dominate color - blues (blue, blue purple, blue green)
Compliment - oranges (orange, red orange through yellow gold to yellow)
Discords - yellow green and red purple

Time of day - early afternoon
Weather - sunny & warm

Contrasts will be the color compliments, muted & brights, cools & warms, the horizontals & vertical masses, soft and hard edges, and the values.

Now, to pick and organize my pastels, bring it all together, and start the fun part. Hope to hear and see you soon as I've got something to share with you.

Orchidacea
08-08-2005, 05:02 PM
I'm watching this eagerly, Gloria.

meowmeow
08-09-2005, 04:10 PM
Watching...and learning here. Looks like it will be a real special gift when you get done.


Sandy

*Marina*
08-09-2005, 04:39 PM
Very interesting thread. Will keep watching.
Marina

Masque
08-11-2005, 05:39 PM
Hello again! Well since I haven't received any word from anyone that my plan needs major/minor adjustment I'm moving on to the next step. Late comers on recommendations and or direction, of course are always welcomed and will be throughout this WIP.

Picking my palette. I thought to take a page from the "Carley..." article previously mentioned above and took the photos of color/BW below. THAT was an eye-opener. Totally surprised to learn how much and how many colors read lighter in value strictly because of their brightness. Really amazed me. I will do this every time from here on--at least until I can make judgments independently. My groups are (from left to right, top to bottom): possible sand colors, sky, water, girl's suits, hills in BG, compliments to hills + shadows, hair (highlights may come from hill colors too), focal point, skintones.

I decided to make a change to a Munsell Colorwheel (specifically the one shown in Margaret Kessler's book "Color Harmony In Your Paintings") which necessitated some changes in my plan. So here's my new plan.

Dominate value - light
Dominate temperature - cool
Intensity - bright, but not too bright (I hope)
Center of interest - center to viewers left
Focal point - the bucket
Dominate color - blues (blue, blue-violet, blue green)
Compliment - Oranges (including all skin tones)
Discords - yellow green and red

Light source - viewers left and moderately high
Time of day - early afternoon
Weather - sunny & warm

Contrasts will be the color compliments, muted & brights, cools & warms, the horizontals & vertical masses, soft and hard edges, and the values.

I'll give myself a couple of days of living with this palette, make whatever changes and then start painting. My fingers are itching, guys. See you later. GAWD!! THIS IS FUN :wave:

Masque
08-14-2005, 06:06 PM
Here's a little 4x6 color sketch. I used Nupastels and pastel pencils on green smooth side of Canson paper (Quite a bit darker than my Ampersand surface will be). I may need a second sketch using my actual palette because of the significant limitation and difference in colors. Don't know at this point. My image shows the color compliments fairly well, but my discords are hardly visable. I hope that doesn't prove the case in the finished work. What I do know is that the entire planning process was valuable to me; most particlarly the Value sketch. It was extremely helpful in guiding me in placing the lights, midtones and the darks of my colors. Plus the color sketch itself gave me good opportunity to work on (if not completely workout) some stuff that had me worried. Namely the water and sky as I've never painted either before. I also have a better feel for the perspective color use too. I'm not nearly so fearful now of tackling them in the final piece. I surely do thank Jackie Simmonds for her guidance and also for her patient pushing the points and benefits of any and all sketching. It will most definitely be an integral part of my new planning process from here on.

Any and all comments will be much appreciated.

One final question to my WC friends that are following this WIP. Would it be helpful or more informative to see progression updates or should I just cut to the chase and finish the final piece prior to posting again?

meowmeow
08-14-2005, 06:41 PM
Gloria, I think this will be a winner when you get finished. I am so impressed with your patience in planning this all out. Good for you.
The only thing I see, offhand, is that the head of the girl on the left seems to be too large. I know that Kitty Wallis told me when I was having trouble with figures, that the most common thing artists do wrong with figures is to make the head to large. That bit of advice has certainly helped me. Anyhow, I know this is not the final and it is probably not what you are asking about, but I know it might throw off the proportions of the design a bit so I figured I would mention it now.
I'm looking forward to the next phase...I know I enjoy seeing how people work so if you don't mind the progress reports I am all for it. DOn't know how other people feel.

Sandy

Trilby
08-14-2005, 09:50 PM
Oh yes, progress reports, frequently, by all means. Love seeing the stages as people work through the puzzles to resolution. I like the orange swim suits against the blue. Recognizing that this is a limited palette pre sketch study; I'll reserve any critique til later.
TJ

Orchidacea
08-14-2005, 10:02 PM
I agree. I've been waiting to see what you do with this one! I love watching people's progress. I learn so much!

SweetBabyJ
08-14-2005, 11:04 PM
Gloria, your thorough planning coupled with your usual skill will pull this off marvelously, I know- I have great faith. Two things to watch are the left figure's head size and neck length, as Sandy mentioned, and also the way the mountain shape behind her head is peaked right in the middle of her head shape, so that it looks a bit too much like a hat. Perhaps shifting that peak over to one side or the other just a bit would alleviate that one.

I cannot imagine having the ability to be so analytical about all of this- when I try on complex pieces, I usually end up botching it up- I'm just not organized enough to make a plan and stick to it- I can usually only see why I did what I did when it's done. So my hat's off to you for having both the ability and the know-how to do this. However, if there comes a time when all this organized planning starts getting in the way, then by golly, put it out of your mind and paint the painting- I've seen your work, and you have the skill and knowledge to do it justice

Masque
08-16-2005, 04:57 PM
...Two things to watch are the left figure's head size and neck length, as Sandy mentioned, and also the way the mountain shape behind her head is peaked right in the middle of her head shape, so that it looks a bit too much like a hat. Perhaps shifting that peak over to one side or the other just a bit would alleviate that one.

Holy horse pucky!! I didn't see that hat, SBJ. But, gotta tall ya, once I saw it--it was all I could see. I've tried a fix and would like your opinion whether it works before I start laying on those mountains. And, many more thanks for that faith in me you mentioned. It sure feeds the psyche.

Here is my 1st update:

Since I most often work from background to foreground, i.e. painting those things furtherest away and behind and then move forward to that which is closer and in front, the water will be next. For me that water will be even more ticklish than the sky. Having never painted either I'm very unsure of myself. And, speaking of the sky--my apologies for the quality of this photo; in RL it is light, but it's much more vital than the photo shows. There's actually golds, creams, whites, 2 values of blue violet in those clouds and 2 different shades and values of blue green in sky. Maybe next update will show it better. Lets hope. I'll try for a different time of day to photograph.

I'll post when I have the water nearly finished. Until then. :wave:

SweetBabyJ
08-16-2005, 06:44 PM
Probably going to work better now, Gloria- if it were mine, I'd probably skim in a bit of a "distance colour" over top- gray it some- just right there around her head. Not enough to actually change the hue any, really, just enough to shift it slightly.

Masque
08-16-2005, 08:04 PM
...Gloria- if it were mine, I'd probably skim in a bit of a "distance colour" over top- gray it some- just right there around her head. Not enough to actually change the hue any, really, just enough to shift it slightly.

Skim in a bit?? That's a new term for me. What exactly does it mean? And when you say "distance color" over top? Is that the color I will paint that mountain. Are you suggesting applying a gray on that particular mountain around her head to make it more muted gold than the others around it. I'm afraid you've you lost me. Right now, there isn't any color on that (or any) of the other mountains besides some dark yellow ochre to start some shadows, to which I thought I will add some blue violet once the rest of the mountain(s) has been painted. I'm holding off on making any decisions how to use the gold ochre darks and lights (exactly where) until I've painted the water. Fearful that I'll lose balance. I feel my sketch was too dark and I wanted to lighten that water to, in effect, better show that it was mid day. :confused:

SweetBabyJ
08-16-2005, 08:30 PM
ut-oh, now I gotta explain. ummmm... lemme see... what I mean is a light glaze (skim or "whisper") of probably one of the sky blues over whatever mountain colours you put into place there. Yup, it'll make it grayed and somewhat "muddy"- but! Before you decry that idea, consider these things: 1) The blue of the sky will increase distance so the mountain will be fully receded behind her head- there will be NO mistaking the mountain shape for part of her head shape even if the values are the same; 2) Graying that area will also pull focus OFF the mountain shape and on to the girl's head shape- which is where you want it; and 3) If you just barely glaze a bit of that blue over the mountain colours, any "muddy" effect will only be noticeable in the finished work by a viewer looking at it from the same distance as you are painting it- i.e. about twelve inches. From normal viewing distance, it won't look "muddy", it will look right.

I'm suggesting you mute the colours on that mountain shape in particular more than the others to keep it separate from her head shape. Not a whole lot more muted, but a little.

Masque
08-17-2005, 08:27 AM
...I'm suggesting you mute the colours on that mountain shape in particular more than the others to keep it separate from her head shape. Not a whole lot more muted, but a little.

Thank goodness--this photo is far closer to RL color. Thought maybe best to figure out the mountains before I moved on to water. It's amazing to me how much influence each and every color has on another as you try to place them in space. This perspective stuff is pretty darn interesting. I used the sky blue to mute as you suggested--maybe too much? Ya think? Coming back to the well for a check before moving on to that last mountain, which incidently will have more contrast in shadowed areas and will be in brighter ochre's and also lighter as I edge closer to the sandy foreground; which I'm thinking now should be brighter lighter and richer too. Before I finish the mountains I also think I should exaggerate the color accents in those clouds. Thought I'd consider darkening the sky in the uppermost corner on the viewers left also. For balance. Thanks so much for your help SBJ; most especially thanks for going the extra mile and explaining what your suggestions are expected to do--that is a real help. Looking forward to comments. :)

Masque
08-23-2005, 10:59 AM
Sorry for the dry spell in postings. I had every intention of keeping a good momentum going on this WIP. But as we all know, not always easy--what with dealing with the minutiae life hands us. This update isn't much, but it will give you an idea of where I'm headed with color on the beginnings of the water. The foreground mountain on the viewers right is getting my attention right now. Trying to decide how close I want them to appear and how much detail that will require. I'm hoping to post frequently, at least until I attack the figures themselves. So there tis and thanks for your interest. :wave:

Trilby
08-23-2005, 03:21 PM
Good to see you are still working on this. Water looking good at this point. good depth.
TJ

ponting
08-23-2005, 03:41 PM
Gloria I am most impressed with your thought process but even more with your sharing it with us. To see someone of your advanced youth (batting eyes here) so open to change and advancement is truly heartwarming for an instructor. :clap: I will be watching you every step of the way to see this wonderful sketch blossom into what I know will be just as wonderful a painting.

I am coming into this very late and I don't know if one of these thumbnails is one that you have chosen to follow but do be aware of the land mass kissing the top of the standing twin's head.

Cheers, Dianna :wave:

Orchidacea
08-23-2005, 10:42 PM
Go, Gloria!

danna23
09-21-2005, 11:40 PM
Well Hey....

I live in Turlock, and the lake isn't quit that blue anymore. Plus the lakes around here have been giving people rashes all summer. But I love your picture, I'm going to the Art Expo in Burbank in October and I'm taking my first pastel workshop. I'm looking forward to using a new medium.

I'll be looking forward to your progress.

Danna

Masque
09-29-2005, 10:20 AM
Well, Folks, I'm back. A little worse for wear, having been ill, but back now and on the mend.

It was an adventure trying to find my thread, and now I'm not at all sure sure how to pick it up or even whether I should since it's in a different forum than where it started out.

I'd very much like to finish what I started and will post my latest update here in hopes someone will help me move it back to Soft Pastel Studio or tell me how or what I should do.

Thanks.

Orchidacea
09-29-2005, 10:31 AM
Gloria--so sorry to hear you've been ill...but glad that you're on the mend. This is looking wonderful! I've been checking in here from time to time...so glad to see that you're working on it again, after all your careful planning.

I think you can PM one of the moderators, and they will move this back to the softies studio until you're done. I think it's in the Library now because there is so much to be learned from it so far!

Eagerly awaiting more progress...

K Taylor-Green
09-29-2005, 12:55 PM
Hello! Gloria has requested that I move this back to the Soft Pastel Studio, and I have happily complied.
Glad you're on the mend, girl!

ponting
09-29-2005, 08:00 PM
Good to see you back Gloria and nice to see the great progress you have made. Lookin' ggod!!

Cheers, Dianna

Masque
09-30-2005, 08:33 AM
Wonderful to be back, believe me. And my thanks for warm thoughts.

Here is yesterday's efforts. Once the placement and intensity of darks, lights, and brights were determined the process began to fall into place and I could see more clearly where I was going. Though now it's slowed because of tight spaces and subtle transitions in the figures. Even my pinky is too big to be much use in blending values together. My color shapers have been invaluable--lots of layering. In some cases barely touching the surface with the edge of the pastel and then ever so gently pushing the color into place with the shaper.

Not at all happy with perspective of hills in background, but will wait until painting is more complete before dealing with them. Because of the similarity to the hill color I've decided to change color of the sand (from umbers to grey greens) and add texture. All with the ultimate idea of using sand and hills as a mechanism to unify the painting by adding small amounts of gold hill colors and the darker blues and oranges and maybe even a touch of dark lime green amid the texture of sand and small amount of the sand's grey green sand colors to the hills.

I recognize that the water needs to more clearly show the gradient movement, but that too will wait until figures and sand are finished. I want some sand to show through the water at shore line and I have no idea how to do that so if anyone has any suggestions/direction--please speak up.

Hopefully will post next update Saturday morning.

SMARA
09-30-2005, 09:23 AM
You know - I don't seem to see the hills in the backgroujd as a problem!!
I really like the sea as it is and love the "pull" towards what the children are doing.
Sometimes I wonder if we don't analyse things tooooo much.
Am really looking forward to seeing the end.
Aletta

Masque
10-01-2005, 11:24 AM
Thanks, Aletta, your response helped. I'm less anxious about the background having heard that from you.

It wasn't planned, but worked primarily on the sand texture yesterday. Definitely a freeing experience vs working in the tight spaces of the figures. Felt something like decorating a christmas tree. Even used some iridescent pastels to add a little shine. Kinda cool.

Fun stuff.

Orchidacea
10-01-2005, 07:18 PM
This is shaping up to be just beautiful. The little girl's legs are amazing, especially with that shadow from her arm. I also love how you've done the sand. Iridescent pastels? Cool. (I've never seen them in person. Are those the Senneliers?)

My only concern--and keep in mind that I really don't know what I'm talking about--is that my eye is drawn to the warmer, brighter background hills rather than to the cooler, darker foreground sand. It's hard for me to stay focused on the figures because the hills distract me. Of course, this might be different once both figures are done. I'm wondering if that happens for anyone else and what people would suggest to fix it if it needs fixing.

Masque
10-02-2005, 08:27 AM
This is shaping up to be just beautiful. The little girl's legs are amazing, especially with that shadow from her arm. I also love how you've done the sand. Iridescent pastels? Cool. (I've never seen them in person. Are those the Senneliers?)

My only concern--and keep in mind that I really don't know what I'm talking about--is that my eye is drawn to the warmer, brighter background hills rather than to the cooler, darker foreground sand. It's hard for me to stay focused on the figures because the hills distract me. Of course, this might be different once both figures are done. I'm wondering if that happens for anyone else and what people would suggest to fix it if it needs fixing.

Thanks, Orchidacea. Yeah, I'm hoping those #%@! hills don't prove to be the acid mistake that can't be fixed. Can't say I wasn't forewarned. Early in the planning process one of WC's most respected artists asked me why I wanted to include them. I thought I knew at the time. Now, I'm really wondering.

Once the figures and water are complete and all the brightest brights have been established I'm hoping the problem resolves itself, or if not, I can then neutralize the hill colors enough that they become more "atmospheric" and stop competing. If anyone out there has any suggestions--I'm listening.

Masque
10-04-2005, 07:38 AM
Standing figure is all but complete. Will finish her hair and move directly to 2nd figure before I worry any trouble spots. That 2nd figure should go faster as all those (figure) colors have been tested, chosen, and set aside. We all know too well that finding just the right color is what takes up the majority of time in our painting process.

Masque
10-24-2005, 08:03 AM
Finally approaching the finish. Girls are done excepting for those tiny last minute touchups. Moving on; expect to finish water today. If anyone sees anything that needs correction, please speak up. Thanks for looking.

Orchidacea
10-24-2005, 08:13 AM
Wow! Gloria, I bow to you--this is awesome! The hair blows me away! The light is wonderful, especially on the squatting girl's back.

One little thing--the feet on the standing girl look too big. They look overly puffy at the top of the instep, and her left heel, where it's highlighted, seems to stick out too far.

Glad to see you around--I was going to PM you soon to see what was up, as I've been wondering when you'd finish :).

Masque
10-24-2005, 08:55 AM
One little thing--the feet on the standing girl look too big. They look overly puffy at the top of the instep, and her left heel, where it's highlighted, seems to stick out too far.

Glad to see you around--I was going to PM you soon to see what was up, as I've been wondering when you'd finish :).

Your right!! Thanks. Really appreciated. Corrected the arch in the foot, but the value of the heel highlight is fine in the RL original (much softer in RL). I think you were seeing my camera's exaggeration of that particular spot of light. Probably photographer's fault. As to their size? The kid had big feet--what can I say? Remember, these are my 45 year old twins when they were 3-4 years old. She eventually grew into her feet, but it took a while.

On another note. I'm glad to be around. Have had an awful lot of company over the past couple of weeks--plays havoc with my painting. But very glad you thought to send a PM. That's appreciated. Hope to have this painting finished and to the framer by Thursday of this week.

M Douglas
10-24-2005, 10:19 AM
Wow :clap: This is just stunning.

Melodie :cat:

ponting
10-24-2005, 11:55 AM
Gloria you do an exquisite job of figures.....am looking forward to see how you intend to finish off the water. Will the sand be visible through the water at the shoreline? I shall wait and see :D

Cheers, Dianna

Masque
10-24-2005, 01:06 PM
Gloria you do an exquisite job of figures.....am looking forward to see how you intend to finish off the water. Will the sand be visible through the water at the shoreline? I shall wait and see :D

Cheers, Dianna

Well, Dianna, my thanks for your kind words on the figures. However, what I know about painting water (or land either) should go in a comic book. Definitely not intuitive. I do know enough to know that I should show the shore through the water, but the how is a whole other issue. I'm thinking right now that I'm going to have to settle for a meer suggestion as the image below shows. Mostly because the pastel layers at shore are very very close to being "pastel mud" and ugly from numerous attempts. Short of brushing off everything down to bare canvas and starting over (which would be a touchy process to say the least) I haven't the faintest idea of how to correct it. My main mistake is not completely finishing water and sand before I painted the figures. My research on the water/shore subject showed me it can be done, but as I said, not the how. All my attempts have failed sadly. Sorry, my photo doesn't show the water's movement well or at all in some places. Color and values are more apparent and pretty active in RL I think. Any suggestions on water's edge????

ponting
10-24-2005, 10:33 PM
Hello Gloria. Well I can see that you've done a whole lot of research. I would think in that vast stack of stats that something should be there about the sky reflecting on the calm water at certain times and at certain angles were it doesn't allow you to see in. I would think that this would be one of those days and one of those situations.....don't you???? :D :rolleyes:

Cheers, Dianna :cat:

Masque
10-25-2005, 07:58 AM
Hello Gloria. Well I can see that you've done a whole lot of research. I would think in that vast stack of stats that something should be there about the sky reflecting on the calm water at certain times and at certain angles were it doesn't allow you to see in. I would think that this would be one of those days and one of those situations.....don't you???? :D :rolleyes:

Cheers, Dianna :cat:

LOL, thanks for that Diana. Whew! Of course, it HAS to be "one of those days and one of those situations." Wish I'd thought of that. Would have saved me a whole lot of fussing and stewing. :wink2:

However, as the saying goes, "Ya can't make a silk purse out of a sows ear." I think it's time to consider this painting finished and admit to it's successes and it's failures. There will always be those paintings in which the mind, the eye and the hand don't coordinate well and a time comes to move on to something else.

My thanks to everyone on WC for your support and help through this project. There is a tremendous amount of good advice from some great people in this thread and I hope it proves to be of help to others as well.

Take care and stay well. :wave:

ponting
10-25-2005, 01:07 PM
"Ya can't make a silk purse out of a sows ear."

Somehow I don't see this adage fitting your wonderful painting.....You are far too harsh with yourself Gloria. It may not be all that you imagined it might but to almost everyone else out there, it is a great pastel. I really enjoyed 'seeing' your thought process as it unfolded.

Terrific work and looking forward to seeing more.

Ciao.........Dianna :wave:

CindyW
10-25-2005, 05:46 PM
Gloria, the style of your rendering is very calming. It captures the essence of the kids in its brilliance and simplicity.
Very nice!
Cindy

Bringer
10-25-2005, 06:25 PM
Hi,

This is really well.
Lots of congratulations !!!

Regards,

Josť