View Full Version : Evening Serenade -- I need your input, please....

Ms. Gee
10-28-2007, 11:15 PM
Hi Everyone :wave:

I found the reference photo in the RIL posted by TJStone. Thank you, TJ! I knew immediately I had to paint one of the players. I added the porch background and the dog. I'm struggling with my shadows. My poor puppy should be in shadow but I'm afraid he's washed away. I don't want him to be a focal point, he's just being lulled to sleep. I'll think twice about trying to make up a composition like this again. The shadows are so hard to get right with no reference. :confused:

Please give me your ideas if you think there's something I can do to improve this.

11x14, Canson CP 140lb, earth tones, Indigo, and the last painting I'll be doing with any student grade paints. :clap: After days of researching, I'm placing my order for W&N and M Grahams very soon! :D If you're interested and we can go there in this thread, I'd love to share what my palette will be and get any ideas you may have on that, too.



10-29-2007, 05:31 AM
A wonderful start Grace. With the strong raking light in the background I would expect some cast shadows. These will be dificult to work out, I suggest you try them on a print before attempting them on the painting.

Choose a sun angle and work out where the shadows would be.


10-29-2007, 03:09 PM
Grace how about lifting some of the dark off the dog's back as a way to suggest light on him? And adding irregular shapes of dark on the top leg. The folds in the mans pants are good but what about more dark under the inner right.

As for a palette, I always suggest Wilcox split, very simple, one warm - one cool, red, yellow, blue, with a couple of earths, siennas. It keeps cost down and teaches how to mix instead of relying on convenient mixes. I haven't use Canson paper:)

Ms. Gee
10-29-2007, 07:16 PM
Thanks Yorki and Ral,

Yes, I see where there needs to be shadow on the pants. I'll fix that. I'll work a little more on the dog and try to make him look better. I think he's the weak spot in this painting and if I can make some adjustments to him, I'll be happier.

I should have worked it out before I started painting. I've learned an important lesson here. I thought about re-doing the painting with my new paints and the light coming from the other direction but it would just open a new can of worms. Time to move on to something else.

Yes! That's exactly what I'll be doing with my palette, Ral. I like the convenience colors of Indigo and the siennas but the rest will be 1 warm and 1 cool of the yellow, red and blues. I'm just so excited about going to Artist grade paints that I can't wait for them to arrive. I'm going to order them tonight from MerriArtist.com and I'll get free shipping. Pretty good deal! :clap:

Don't bother trying Canson paper. I'm trying to think like a millionaire and hoping to add some Arches to my order tonight.

Thanks for the response and I welcome any other comments.

10-29-2007, 07:23 PM
Hi Grace... from the paintings in your signature line, I see that you really do understand your values and how your darkest darks will make your lights and highlights seem even brighter...

Of course, it really does help if you're using artist grade paint... congratulations on making the move up... I wouldn't use Canson paper, either, except for test strips etc.

Ms. Gee
10-29-2007, 11:33 PM
Thank you, Char. Your compliment means so much to me! :heart:


10-30-2007, 07:00 AM
I do think the shadows will anchor the dog and make the painting more dramatic. Still this is very well done!:thumbsup:


11-08-2007, 06:00 AM
I think working out your own composition is a very good thing to do. Don't give up on that. The only thing I would advise when doing it is to make a quick layout sketch and value study with one color to get a feel for how it is going to workout. Discovering things in the middle of the painting is where you might run into trouble.

I like this composition and the man is very nicely painted. Since the strong sunlight seems to be coming from the upper left corner, the cast shadow from the man onto the dog would be moving the same way. Looks like it would only be on the front part of the dog's body since his hind quarters are in the path of the light like the man's body is.

Ditto to what you said about Canson paper. I had some once and it felt more like Hot Press than Cold Press. I like Arches and Fabriano papers and buy them when I see them on sale so I have a nice stock of paper bought at good prices. ;)

Have fun with your new upgraded supplies. I think you'll find you don't need as much of the artist grade paints to get rich colors as you used to need with your student grade ones. ;)


11-09-2007, 12:57 PM
What a lovely painting and composition

My poor puppy should be in shadow but I'm afraid he's washed away. I don't want him to be a focal point, he's just being lulled to sleep.

I think you should put a little more details into the face of the dog.
I think the top of the head needs to stand out from the background.

11-09-2007, 02:34 PM
I beginner I can't get any ideas but Beautiful painting
Thanks Grace:thumbsup:

Ms. Gee
11-09-2007, 07:34 PM
Thank you Carl, Sylvia, wedad and ranunkel for the nice comments. I've worked on the dog a little more and posted un update in the gallery here:


I still plan to work a little more on the shadows of the dog before I put this away. Maybe I'll post my final if I think it's any improvement. :D

Sylvia, I learned a valuable lesson about doing a value study prior to starting the painting. I thought I could pull it off but sputtered terribly. Too bad as I'm happy with the rest of the painting. Poor puppy!

My new paints and Arches block got delivered yesterday. I cleaned all the student grade paints off my pallete and now I'm working on a new paint chart that will show the full value of each color, transparency and lifting qualities like you suggested in a thread I found. Soooo much fun! :)


11-15-2007, 10:34 PM
Well done. You've really succeeded with two subjects that are hard to do....both the dog and the portrait.
I think its really important to keep working on this. Put it away and do it again.....with your new stuff, I'm sure each new effort will give you lots of new ways to making this really special.