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View Full Version : Not Quite White - and what is a macro?


Katherine T
08-15-2007, 04:36 AM
I'm intrigued by people's definitions of a "macro" in relation to portraying flowers - where do they start and where do they end?

Does anybody know of any useful definitions or discussions of this anywhere on the internet or in books?

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Aug-2007/48045-web_Not-Quite-White.jpg

This is "Not Quite White".
It's 8" x 10" and is coloured pencil on Arches Hot Press. The challenge with this one was to work out how to portray the structure of the peony and the colours in the white petals and still make it a convincing white flower which didn't look 'dirty'.

My technique involves lots and lots of open hatching so that colours go down and mix optically. I'm not trying for a super perfect hyper realist finish - I like people being able to see how I construct the images and for them to have a different experience of it at different distances from it.

What do you think? How did I do?

And what's your 'take' on what is a flower "macro"?

C_Line
08-15-2007, 06:33 AM
I think it's lovely - I think your forms are so well molded. I think the focal point could be established just a little bit clearer, however this view is so soft and abstracted that it's nicely developed as is. I am a little bit distracted by the two maroon-colored spots/shapes...they just seem to be a tad out of harmony with the image as a whole. But otherwise, I love the way you've developed the shapes of the flower. And the whiteness reads well.

"Macro" - to me means a large view of something normally viewed small.

Katherine T
08-15-2007, 07:03 AM
Thanks Celeste. Try mentally removing the little bits of red - I think it then works less well.

I do think trying to find a focal point becomes more taxing at times when adopting a macro perspective. By which I think it means it can start looking 'same old same old' and I think that's what i'm trying to avoid with these. I don't mind people having a puzzle to solve.

So if it's a large view of something viewed small where do we draw the boundaries of when a subject is starting to find itself outside the macro bracket?

~frangipani~
08-15-2007, 08:24 AM
Lovely shading in this one, I'm really enjoying seeing all these "macro" works of yours.

From a photography point of view, I use a macro lens to get a close up image of a subject, to magnify an image to see something that is normally hard to see with the naked eye. So I would carry that idea over to other forms of art. My concept is that once you lose that feeling of looking through a magnifying glass then it is no longer a macro. It's quite a subjective concept and people will have different ideas of what is macro and where it ends.

Katherine T
08-15-2007, 08:30 AM
That's a neat perspective. That to me rules out single blooms as being macros unless they are very complex and the macro reveals something more than you normally see.

I think in my head it's something along the lines of a view which shows you things you wouldn't notice normally with the naked eye. So I'm not sure if it matters whether the blow up is via the lens or the software.

painterbear
08-15-2007, 08:38 AM
Katherine,
This is a lovely closeup view of the heart of a peony. I like those two little touches of magenta because my neighbor's white peony sometimes has spots of color like that in an otherwise white flower.

I might have included one more to make it an odd number, but that's one of my little "rules" when I'm painting—odd numbers seem more interesting than even ones. ;)

When I think of what a macro is, I think it means a view of an object (be it living like a flower or non-living like a piece of machinery) that only encompasses a portion of the larger item shown in much more detail than a full view of the item would show. Normally, the macro view would extend off the picture plane on at least two, preferably three, sides with just a little background showing.

Sylvia

valchina612
08-15-2007, 09:16 AM
This is a lovely soft painting Katherine. I especially like the right side of the Peony. They are such a gorgeous flower that they just ask to be painted. My take on a Macro has always been a cropped version of the full flower -- i.e. the centre detail for instance. To me "macro" means "close-up". I'd call what you have here a macro. I think we probably all have our versions of this.

Val. :wave:

gaykir
08-15-2007, 09:40 AM
Very delicate work!

vhere
08-15-2007, 12:55 PM
Certainly in photography I'd agree with Celeste's definitition but In painting I think I'd go with Sylvia's slightly more open one - cropping tightly, enlarging and concentrating on a very close up, partial view of the flower.

Mikki Petersen
08-15-2007, 01:16 PM
You certainly met the challenge, Katherine. This is so beautifully fresh looking. I'm really becoming a fan of your soft but detailed apprach. As for the definition of macro, I haven't a clue...I just think "close-up".

Mikki

SunsetSue
08-15-2007, 03:09 PM
Katherine this is wonderful. You did a fabulous job here and from what I can tell, a macro is a closeup of anything.

madmum
08-15-2007, 04:44 PM
I love the touches of magenta, without them I wouldn't instantly recognise this as a peony! I think your challenge paid off, this is definitely a white flower. Wonderful!

For me a macro is a close view of something with just a tiny bit of background if any. I used to only paint macro florals because I was afraid of foliage! Now I tend to do more wide views.

Ruth

Charlie's Mum
08-15-2007, 05:24 PM
An interesting question Katherine, and I'm glad you asked - I'm still pondering your comment/request in another thread here in the forum! I haven't forgotten!:lol:

My own definition would be broadly similar to Sylvia's -Thanks Sylvia:D)
When I think of what a macro is, I think it means a view of an object (be it living like a flower or non-living like a piece of machinery) that only encompasses a portion of the larger item shown in much more detail than a full view of the item would show. Normally, the macro view would extend off the picture plane on at least two, preferably three, sides with just a little background showing.

So for me, single blooms qualify - close-up of any parts qualify - I think the important aspect is a good composition and lighting. I like the idea of the subject extending indefinitely in the viewer's imagination.

Now to this work - it's a lovely, delicate piece and I think the white flower succeeds - there's always colour there don't you think?
This has beautiful light - I might have been tempted to increase the darks a touch, but then again, I might have spoilt it!:lol:

jeanvrb
08-16-2007, 08:40 AM
With my first 35mm camera, I had a set of 3 macro lens. With each I had to be within a certain distance of the subject for the view to be clear. Using the strongest macro lens, I could focus in on a penny and fill the viewfinder at a distance of about an inch from the penny. With my first digital camera, there was a macro setting for which I had to be within 2 or 3 inches for clear view. Using this info, my definition of macro would be that I zero in on the subject.

Your post of the peony is lovely. About the small touchs of red, I am not familar with peony flowers - have never grown them or studied them. When I first viewed your floral, my eyes were drawn straight to the red, so if this was your intent, it worked.

Jeanette

C_Line
08-16-2007, 02:18 PM
This is all a very interesting discussion. I have found that the more closely you look at something, the more it becomes a matter of shapes, pattern, design and becomes so interesting and intriguing to the viewer. As to what paintings or drawings featuring flowers qualify as "macro", are there some specified "rules" somewhere? Do there need to be? What if one wants to focus just on a stamen? Or the stems? Or get out their microscope and focus on the cellular bodies and paint that...that would be a macro "micro" view :lol:!

I think there are fundamental "rules" of good design and composition that can be employed no matter what our focus. But even those are broken regularly quite effectively. That's the wonderful thing about making art, isn't it? The freedom of artistic license.

I cannot speak to botanical "illustration" with it's high degree of accuracy, my reference is strictly about floral/organic subjects in art in general.

Laura D
08-16-2007, 06:32 PM
Katherine, you certainly succeeded with painting a white flower without it appearing "dirty". It's lovely.

"Macro=closeup of a partial or single subject with at least 3 sides touching the subject, not necessarily recognizable as the subject." From my notes from college.

C_Line
08-16-2007, 06:57 PM
"Macro=closeup of a partial or single subject with at least 3 sides touching the subject, not necessarily recognizable as the subject." From my notes from college.

Thanks for sharing that Laura.

Laura D
08-16-2007, 07:42 PM
:thumbsup:

Gilberte
08-18-2007, 05:10 AM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/18-Aug-2007/9813-48045-web_Not-Quite-White.jpg

This is a greyscale of your work. IMHO you could put in some more darks in between the petals as to make the flower and the petals pop-up a wee bit more. But it's lovely anyway ...

Fozbot
08-22-2007, 04:18 PM
Macro=closeup of a partial or single subject with at least 3 sides touching the subject, not necessarily recognizable as the subject.

i agree with Laura on this point. macros can also be a much closer, microscopic view, too.

i love when 'whites aren't white' projects and you've certainly kept this from looking dirty, Katherine. however, i'm not a fan of highkey paintings. i much prefer to see artwork where a full range of values is used. i'm just speaking for myself, of course. sometimes 'soft' or pale is well suited to a subject.