View Full Version : Things that work: using several devices at once

cobalt fingers
01-16-2002, 10:40 PM
As a follow-up to the other piece which failed for several reasons, I list this which I think works by using several design/painting devices all at once.

Cool/ warm contrast

blue/ orange reaction

golden mean placement of focal point

Sharpest edge usage at focal point

light/ dark at focal point

big small shapes at focal point

less distinct edges leading slowing into crisper edges (at focal point)

there are 3 or 4 other things at work too, the point is that using the things you've been taught even when in conjunction with other design devices can still work to build a pleasing arrangement. I built this piece and used numerous
common tactics and these are not very subtle. I do think this one works ;it is, I feel, as close to an opposite of the "design failure" listed above. What do you think?

01-16-2002, 11:24 PM
Oh, much more "peaceful!" :) I love these colors, especially your background. Gorgeous background, and something I always struggle with. Dare I make one small criticism? The orange on the far left seems to be floating in space.


01-17-2002, 01:24 AM

Good point about the loss of crisp edges away from the focal point. I hadn't ever noticed that as a technique, but it is effective here. If and when I become technically skilled enough to render convincing objects, I'll try it.......

It seems that everything in the painting points to the focal point, which does give it good harmony. It's a very nice-looking, pleasant painting, and very well rendered, of course.

The orange:

I think (correct me if I'm wrong) that the softening of the edges here is going on with the table as well as the fruit, and so the orange on the left is resting on the table top, which is barely visible in the photo.


01-17-2002, 02:23 AM
Lovely production....excellent work. I hope you posted this in still-life as well. The blue orange counterplay is an excellent device. I do question the left orange....it appears to be over the edge of the table top.

I have to ask this question? You have posted so many excellent paintings in the past few weeks I wonder over how much time were they all produced. Another question: Take this still life, how long did it take you to complete it, from concept to completion. Days spent on it...over what period of time including drying time.

I know I piddle too much trying to get everything just right. But when I do a still life I want the bread to look like bread the fish to look like a fish. I have never gotten used to still lifes with purple bread and black tomatoes and especially "round" vases that have two edges with different shapes. In all your paintings you take the time to do it right. Again I take my hat off to you. Can I apply for the job as your offical cheer leader? LOL


01-17-2002, 05:52 AM
This is another beautiful painting with meticulous detail. I really love the contrast between the lost edges and the sharp focus. Very nicely done indeed.
Congrats on another fine painting.

01-17-2002, 08:16 AM
Tim, Beautiful painting! Excellent post- I printed it out for reminders.

Would you please discuss how these guidelines might be applied to a figurative painting?


01-17-2002, 09:07 AM
This is a great "lesson." Easy to read, easy to understand. Your work speaks for itself. Have printed it to use as a check list.

cobalt fingers
01-17-2002, 11:36 AM
I have two standard replies (which I may post below my signature) "if it looks wrong it's wrong" and "well it's probably just a bad jpeg..." in reference to the single floating tangerine,

These two cover a lot :cat:

As to real replies these works are done thru the years most in the last 4 or 5 years. The Tangerines work went pretty nicely and was done within one week maybe 3 or 4 hour hours a day. The pigment is really thick on the vase...this was another contrast thickest pigment next to thinnest. As to the background, the neutral color is most present around the color area of the focal point...I wanted the rest to fad out to the orange brown "neurtal tone". Tim

PS Thank you for the nice comments, I'll reread and answer any questions I've missed

01-17-2002, 12:00 PM
mmmmmm - beautiful. The blurred tangerine on the left works for me - since you can follow the table edge under the grapes it "reads" to me as sitting on the table.

cobalt fingers
01-17-2002, 05:55 PM
artists have liked the design of this, it has little color but other desin stuff going on that fits 16x12"

01-17-2002, 06:01 PM
I like that one very much. It shows that with a good composition and attention to dynamic lighting, color is not going to be neccessary.

Stephen Brealey
01-17-2002, 06:20 PM
I'm a great admirer of your oranges picture. It's dense and rich and solid looking the way I like a still life to be. When someone paints a still life I like to feel that I could reach into it and feel the objects - not just through a high level of realism, but through the weight and form they are given. I think this is as perfect an example as I can think of :clap:

01-17-2002, 08:29 PM
This picture is far more pleasing to the eye than the other one, the colours are very beautiful, I would still address a few edges and adjust the lighting slightly, but all in all a very nice job.

01-17-2002, 09:33 PM
artists have liked the design of this, it has little color but other desin stuff going on that fits 16x12"

I really like this one a lot. The extremes from light to dark are so beautifully dramatic. I should look at this painting whenever I feel compelled to add too many details to my darks (which is all too often).

01-18-2002, 11:56 AM
Well, Professor Fingers I may be late to this class...uh...thread, but I'm printing out your checklist and tacking it up next to my easel:) !

01-18-2002, 02:29 PM
This is really a fine example of your work. I wish I could do half as well!

Only comment of mine would be to take another look at the tangerine on the left. I think it could be sharpened-up just a bit.

Great work!


cobalt fingers
01-18-2002, 08:27 PM
That tangerine is yuckky...I hates it too!

cobalt fingers
06-14-2002, 06:55 PM
I used this work for my newest biz cards, it will soon appear on a national way. Simple design-old standard composition methods...

06-15-2002, 03:16 AM
I think that you have also done some other note worthy things with the first painting. The fold on the table cloth, wedge of tangerine, and stem of the grapes, all leading to the focal point, the subtle color in the background bringing out the colors in the focal point, and the blue/orange ‘ratio’ in the painting once again helps define the focal point.

The tangerine on the far left doesn’t bother me, but the lack of solidly defined table under it does. Everything on the left seems to disappear into a fog and makes me uneasy. The background light in that area is bright enough to see the table and everything on it, but I cannot! I think perhaps that is just my personal taste at work though… I have never been a big fan of “less distinct edges leading slowing into crisper edges (at focal point)”. My eye will automatically soften edges that I am not focusing on at the given moment. I guess it is a point of freedom for me to wander where I will and still get satisfaction. The colors, lead-ins, composition, light, and balance is enough for me to find the focal points right off in this painting. This is NOT criticism of what you have done here. I understand the correctness of what you have done. Just seems like overkill.

Would like to talk about the colors for a bit… Did you make your orange from red and yellow or use a tube orange? I ask because the grape colors tie in so well with the oranges. You have a lovely gray in this. Did it come from mixing the blue and orange colors? How many tube colors did you use for this one? I ask because I also see red, yellow, purple, and even a bit of green in this as well as the predominant orange and blue, all working in perfect harmony. What did you use for your darkest dark?

Forgive so many questions but I love to hear about color theories that give such natural and brilliant results. No ‘mud’ here!

cobalt fingers
06-19-2002, 12:57 PM
I don't like much the tube colors of orange colors- I do make those normally. I might post my pallette on a new thread.More soon... Tim

Thanks for your kindness

cobalt fingers
06-19-2002, 01:03 PM
this work will be on the cover of next months ARTISTS magazine.

06-19-2002, 01:14 PM
Originally posted by cobalt fingers
this work will be on the cover of next months ARTISTS magazine.

Congrats!!!:clap: I'll have to get a copy.

cobalt fingers
06-19-2002, 09:55 PM
such good question let me see if I can answer some of them. You noted some pretty delicate things and you're correct. I painted nearly everything as I saw it. I set-up the stills with lots of thought about design this one big time. I also KNOW that the light source falling over the entire painting will unify the colors if I will only determine to match those correctly. That's waht I did.

The painting was a textured (linen panel). I let that dry hard, then I stained the orange (which was dulled form of my target orange) I then began the design around the idea of making the cresant tangerine the most important thing. The hardest part for me was the dark of the vase and getting the edge where it fades to dark just right. I don't recall exactly what my darks were...I use ivory black,van dyke brown and many other rich dark colors usually in mixes.

The grape color i did fudge on to make them unify into the painting

TCT hugs

06-21-2002, 06:41 AM
Only an observation, perhaps wrong:
Why don't you have done the table cloth more clear?
Perhaps you would have increased the tridimensionality of the picture...
Compliments, very beautiful still life.
Thank you.

cobalt fingers
06-21-2002, 02:48 PM
I was trying to be loose and creative with the vignetteing...I'll never try that ever again...

just kidding:cat: