View Full Version : My Worship Series part 2...more WIPs

Deborah Secor
07-14-2007, 04:26 PM

Here's the next of my worship paintings. I figure studying the Bible is another form of great worship! I will put this into context of the other paintings I'm doing, of course.

It's on reclaimed Wallis, 12x18". I'm about an hour into this one, give or take a few minutes, and I'm at that point where I need some input, so C&Cs most welcome... I have some questions but at this point I think I'll wait to see what you all have to say. It's far from finished. I'll need a lot more time to be able to 'see' it.

Oh--as usual the oranges in this are far more saturated than IRL, so you needn't worry about his face being that ruddy.

Your help and encouragement is appreciated. Thanks! I'll continue to post a few more of the series in this thread...


Deborah Secor
07-14-2007, 04:34 PM
Here's a link to the first three in the series, in case you want to see what I've been doing. My Worship Series...Drawings & WIPs (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=428474)


07-14-2007, 04:42 PM
Like the background much better than the 'blue' - coming from me, that's saying something - yes, love orange as you know, but a little to much in his face!

It's going to be breath taking when finished - it rates a :thumbsup:


Mikki Petersen
07-14-2007, 05:58 PM
I see virtually nothing wrong with this painting Deborah. How quickly you have mastered the human form. This painting is quite strong and evocative. While the man is definitely the focal point, the glow of light on the bible imputes a sense of wonder in his serious study. After looking and looking, the one thing that is slightly disruptive is the far left fold in his sleeve because it sharply points up and away from the action and it keeps drawing my eye. Even though we are viewing strong light, perhaps those shadows could be softened? I think the face is beautiful even with the strong oranges of the image. It really looks very complete to me.


Deborah Secor
07-14-2007, 06:08 PM
Thanks, blue. Hmmm, odd that you would not like BLUE, true... I already quieted those oranges, but they're still there. Thanks.

Oh, thank you Mikki--I muted the shadow below that one because it was doing some odd pointing but missed that one... I'll see what I can do when I look at it again.


And here's the next one. Believe it or not, it's on Canson! I had a sheet of black that's been sitting in my paper portfolio for years. I wanted black for this crazy image and it was the only one, so I used the less-textured side and just went to it. It's 19x15 and I think I'll call it Still Point. To me it's that place where everything around you is moving and overwhelming and suddenly you are drawn into the place where you are simply still--in intenseworship.

I probably won't have much room to change things and I want this one to be very loose and expressive, but I also want it to look like it belongs in the series, so tell me the truth. What needs tweaking?


Deborah Secor
07-14-2007, 06:56 PM
I played with the first one and want to ask an opinion. How do you like this crop?


I think it's more focused this way. Less distraction from his arm. This also shows the color I tweaked on his face.

I'm open to your thoughts!


Pat Isaac
07-14-2007, 07:06 PM
These are really inspiring, Deborah. I do think that the temple area of the man could be cooler, but this is a wonderful figure and I like the background.
I think the second one is very expressive and I can feel everyone praising....


Winny Kerr
07-14-2007, 07:44 PM
Hi Deborah,
So nice to see you still have time for your art, it is such a gift from God too.
Yes, the crop is better although I'm the last to ask for an opinion, it just looks better.
In the worship painting, which I think is so moving and I can just feel the atmosphere of worship, my eyes seem to be drawn to that open spot just in front of the bottom worshipper, it needs something I think but I would not know what.

Donna T
07-14-2007, 07:46 PM
These are both awesome, Deborah! I like the way the man looks cropped, not that you didn't do a great job on his shirt, but you're right, now all the emphasis is on what is going on between the man and the bible. Still Point is breathtaking! Obviously those people are very deep into their worship. I guess that brilliant light can be interpreted in different ways but it sure comes across as something those people desire and are drawn to.

Donna T

Mikki Petersen
07-14-2007, 08:08 PM
I like the crop very much! It takes away any distraction from the message of the painting.

Speaking of cropping...in "Still Life" I was drawn to the woman's hand because it was somehow not in sync so I thought according to your explanation of the moment being captured there was no need for that hand at all. I took it into my photo editor and made a square painting of it...I like it without the hand. Here's what I came up with...

Hope it's okay that I hacked up your image:( . I really like the crowd energy in this painting all in the form of rhythmic strokes...it really rocks!


07-14-2007, 08:14 PM
Deborah: I like the direction that your work is going. You are growing at a tremendouse pace. Just keep following the path that is given to your heart. You can't fail.


07-14-2007, 10:06 PM
Deborah, I like your cropping of the man with the bible. It makes it more intimate. But I have a problem with Mikki's cropping of Still Point because the two people in the foreground no longer appear to be actively participating. Not a totally negative thing, but it does change the dynamic.


Deborah Secor
07-14-2007, 10:48 PM
Hmmm, food for thought, it seems... I agree with Mikki that the hand on the one lady is a bit distracting, and that deep turquoise spot below it is oddly unlinked to anything, which involves the dead spot that Winny mentioned, but I miss the overall shape and don't think I want it square. This one was taken at our Easter sunrise service at the baseball stadium and it reminds me of a very strong dream I had once, so somehow I want the sweeping shape of the crowd, too.

There's no problem about messing with it, Mikki--I do it myself all the time. :D The crop you suggested leaves a couple of red spots that would need tweaking, too, so my logical approach is to consider some further softening and re-coloring in that area to take the mind off her hand and viscerally suggest it at the same time. Good catch, everyone--thanks!

I'm still not dead sure about the crop on our Bible man. I like the simplicity of it but the shape may not thrill me. Before I crop anything I'll work on quieting and simplifying the folds of the sleeve. Then if it doesn't work, whack-o!

I'm hoping there will be a use for this body of work in time. My job right now is to do the paintings and then see if anything will come together. I still have plans for others. I have one photo of a little girl being baptized that is so gorgeous. She has her head bowed and there's a pale silken reflection of her face in the water. I don't know if I'm skilled enough to pull it off but I'll probably give it a try.

I'm not going to be able to get back to these paintings before next week, so if anyone else has comments or critique for me, please don't hesitate to suggest things! Thank you all so much.


07-15-2007, 12:17 AM
Powerful work, Deborah!

For what it's worth, here's my two cents:
on the Bible reader, the crop works for me--when the whole thing is there, I am distracted by wondering what the Bible is sitting on, because it seems so far away from him. I'm not distracted in the cropped version. I know, heathen that I am, my mind goes to physics!:D

The second is a very powerful image--I'm not surprised when you say that it was a large Easter service! I like it a lot, and definitely do not think it should be cropped!!

I have two quibbles with it: the empty purplish space between the woman and her arm, as well as the bent arm itself, seems separate from the rest of the painting--compared to the outstretched arms and sweep of movement and energy and focus behind her, the gesture seems almost off-hand--she could be conversing as easily as being swept up in worship. the purplish space compounds that sense of separateness to me. And the main figure, with the bald head---well, how can I put it, his head is reflecting a lot! at least on my monitor, it seems a little too bright, especially towards the back, which makes it look kinda square. With the tremendous power in the rest of the painting and his outstretched arms, I don't want to be drawn to the back of his head!

But the painting as a whole is wonderful--the flow of energy between the people and the Light is superb!

I have no doubt that you will find a very fitting use for these paintings. While I love your landscapes, it is very obvious that you have put your heart and soul into these works--the faith and praise and worship that they express is palpable, even on a computer screen! I am looking forward to seeing the little girl that you describe--it sounds lovely.

Deborah Secor
07-15-2007, 11:52 AM
Thanks, Libby. I had the same concern wiht the Bible man. I moved the Bible in closer already to accomodate his gaze. I may reshape it some more...it's early in the process, so we'll see.

Seems to me that I need to either plug the suggestion of another figure in the dead purple spot or rearrange the arms on the two figures there--or both. I'll have to play with the whole thing in my program to see what looks like it might work, since that darned Canson won't give much room to correct things. I rather jumped into this one and just did it spontaneously without too much advance planning, and it apparently shows... but we'll see about that too. I may end up doing multiples from the same photo.

Thanks for all your help.


07-15-2007, 12:10 PM
looks good! I hope you do some more!

Mary Brigid
07-15-2007, 06:16 PM
Deborah i am a novice compared to the fabulous artist that are giving you their opinions here.
I can only go by the gut feeling I get when I first see a painting..
So here goes. When I opened this thread and saw the man studying the bible I felt, Deborah has really achieved what she set out to do here. To me, the light seems to be radiating from the bible... and from this I took it that you, Deborah the artist wanted to portray... The word of God.. as being the light... So Deborah I am not voting for the crop as I think you will loose the ambiance and message ...for me anyway.
The second painting is amazing it is so busy but yet calm. And on Canson? Well done.... Will be watching for more..
Mary Brigid

07-15-2007, 10:58 PM
Wow, I'd forgotten you'd done this one on Canson!!!! Even more incredible! I certainly don't think your spontaneity in doing it "shows" --it just has a minor spot to think about. And I bet you could get a lot of works from that photograph and any others taken at the same time!

By the way, I showed both your Worship threads to my partner (who just graduated from seminary)--she was very impressed, said they are very powerful works, and that you have really expressed the reverence and emotion that you stated as your goals. In case you wanted a non-artists' take on them!


Deborah Secor
07-15-2007, 11:23 PM
Oh, so glad the metaphor of the light is working in that one, Mary Brigid...

Thanks, Libby. 'Volunteer untrained critics' always welcome!


07-16-2007, 02:05 AM
It looks like God is speaking to you and you are answering. These are very powerful.

Deborah Secor
07-16-2007, 11:59 AM
Aw, thanks TJ... He speaks, that's for sure! If they have any power, it's like my siggy line used to say, it's my imperfect translation of His creation...


07-16-2007, 12:29 PM
Great work! Showing a great intensity for strength and love.
Just another method of spreading the word:D

07-16-2007, 12:46 PM
Beautifully done, and so inspireing!!

07-16-2007, 08:09 PM
Hi Deborah,

I have a couple of thoughts since you asked in your PM. I happen to like the full image much more than the cropped one of the first piece. to me that shadow in the shirt helps me look up and it is a good dark shape that seems to me to work - but you have to decide.

I was wondering if there is any way to tilt the book up so that it's angle draws you up into the painting again and the changes in color in the background bring your eye back to his face... just a thought.

Now for some nit picking - and I assure you it's strong enough on it's own without these but since you asked.
His ear - let's see a bit more detail on this - instead of just a dark hole. It may need to be lightened up and/or show some of the other creases in the ear a bit. I was wondering if his face from the mustache down to the chin is reading right. he seems more "mad" than introspective or disappointed with his curve of his mouth down. It may be the size of this image that I'm not capturing it in its entirety - so judge from you work instead of this comment.

colors - outstanding
concept - fabulous I do find the other has even more emotion than this one and more "movement" - you really captured that.
Overall - gold stars! Keep em coming.


Deborah Secor
07-16-2007, 11:49 PM
Thanks so much, Pete! :thumbsup:

And thanks to you too, Gerry... Everyone has been helpful!! :heart:

Interesting, Barb. Thanks... You know I admire your portraits so much. Well, maybe one of these days I'll develop the confidence you have.

Funny, I tweaked his ear today. I removed the yellow striped ege and played with some pinkish colors, though it's still a black hole, I think. I also softened the folds in the cloth and played more with the shirt. Not sure about his face. I did re-do part of the beard that had gone astray. I'll look at all of that anyway. He isn't mad--at least I don't want him to be! Just very absorbed.

You know, I reshaped the Bible already today but it still isn't right. It's flat on his lap. I wonder if your suggestion to tilt it wouldn't do it. I'll take a look with that in mind. Many thanks for your ideas!

I'll return with photos soon, I hope. Keep the suggestions and thoughts coming. I appreciate it so much!