View Full Version : help. oil is defeating me

08-04-2002, 02:11 PM
I am posting everywhere. I am at a point where I don't want to do any more, but it is not done.
(my belief is that I am too ambitious, but still I can't find the solution because maybe I don't see the problem)

08-04-2002, 05:06 PM
Originally posted by djstar
I am posting everywhere. I am at a point where I don't want to do any more, but it is not done.

(my belief is that I am too ambitious, but still I can't find the solution because maybe I don't see the problem)
I'm not the ooh and ahh type, but I do follow all your posts and work and generally (other than ooh and ahh) don't have much to say. I'll give this one a shot.

To make it look more "finished":

There are not enough crisp edges to give the eye something to latch on to... This might give the image a more completed feel. Some crisp definition on your center of interest will make the rest of the image feel finished. Some of the greys are kinda bothersome above the orange blossoms.

However, that is all kind of moot to me because...

The composition is the real "problem" imho. The cactus group above the blossoms is too similar in shape to the near greens and that (near) shape is too symmetrical/centered. The negative shapes of the ground in the foreground draw the eye and conflict with the distance ground.

Thinking a little more abstractly, there is a disconcerting depth blocking "X" feel to the whole thing, with an orange blob in the middle. Kind of like a wall.

I think deleting the green group above the orange area, and putting a cactus "way" back and off center, plus adding some sky interest (clouds etc) would move the eye around a bit more which will allow the viewer to travel into the picture and contextualize the flowers a bit more, tearing down "the wall". ;) You could also move the blossoms out of center a bit too.

At that point, rendering solutions can be brought to bear appropriately. Of course, I'm not sure I know what I'm talking about, composition is much harder than rendering etc! :D

P.S. Congrats on your gallery placement also!

08-04-2002, 07:20 PM
you didn't plan your composition well, so the painting was self-defeating from the start.....:(

08-04-2002, 07:35 PM
This picture has probably had MORE planning and reworking and re thinking before I started than ANY so far.
I began with the photograph MONTHS ago.
I cropped it and moved it and hated it and liked and started it the day before yesterday, painted it out, restretched the canvas.. and there I think it my biggest problem, I think when I resized it, I moved the sketch up too high making the big middle thing dead center.
I am facinated by the marching buds above and the row of yellow in the middle.
I am not giving up. I believe it will work itself out when I get my values right, but ... my big problem is the scrub brush in between the greens and the blues.
I know detail will only make it more confusing.
I think it will be a color solution. I have totally avoided my purples and it may just be that gray that is messing with me.
..... the composition forum awaits your corrections on this over there.
COLOR... I am sitting, but the next move may be a major color shift.

OH, and I do agree with both of you. I am still trying to figure out what it is that keeps me coming back to save it!!!

08-04-2002, 10:36 PM
dj aka karen allen,,,,i posted a reply in the "composition" forum.

08-11-2002, 05:07 PM
Those oranges are too bright. They really draw the eye in, but there's not much else after that. Perhaps either dulling them down or brightening the rest may help... but the composition, as it stands, and the colors don't make much sense... if that's your intention then fine but if not...

08-14-2002, 01:58 PM
Hey dj
Did you try your purples?

08-16-2002, 08:02 PM
My guess is that; your 'style' is about to undergo a metamorphis..phoenix from the ashes, catepillar to butterfly...how, why, what? This is a subconscious thing, and you are at a 'sticking point', cannot go forward AND cannot go backwards....it's a frustrating and momentarily painful place to be it is the labor before the birth...no, this is not your horoscope....it is your rebellion.:evil: :angel:

08-18-2002, 02:23 AM
Here is where I stopped.
Left it in the gold frame... for now.

09-08-2002, 02:13 AM
Interesting problems - there's definitely a strong painting in there struggling to come out.

A couple of observations:

There isn't much 'plant' character to the plants; even roundish cactuses have some straight-edge jagged feeling to parts, but these ones are all rounded off; it looks a bit like a stranded sea creature.

The color is very closed. There are grey-blue regions and warm red-orange regions and sky blue regions and so on, and they all correspond strictly to different objects. You could (for instance) take the orange from the flowers, darken it considerably with a transparent black, and slice a bit of it in among the cactus deep shadows. It can be very interesting to one of the principal colors, change its value a lot so it's at the same intensity as some completely differently-treated area, and just scumble a bit of it in to create some texture or shape variation.

I think maybe if you open the color up, you'll get some life back into the picture and it'll lead you the rest of the way, so I'd try a bit of that first.

cobalt fingers
09-09-2002, 11:37 PM
transparent and backlit are 2 tough things-together even!

Every medium has some special qualities, for me I enjoy seeing some pigment in oils. Pastels and watercolors have other features. The colors are close...cropping may fix the design.

09-09-2002, 11:48 PM
I appreciate you saw my two elements!
It is hanging on a pushpin with the other cacti and ducks waiting to show, but I have come to terms with it.
Perhaps it was one of those instances where I should have left it a photo.
Just for some resolution, here is the thing!!!
Like I said, it sort of migrated up, but I liked all of the elements and I just have NOT got the attention span or patience for it!
..... yet

Ps, When you want me to start plugging YOUR workshop.... let me know ;)
I may end up with no spare time and a $250 scholarship to spend by next year!!!

cobalt fingers
09-10-2002, 04:50 PM
Hey, I had one of those once. I went to Len Chmiels workshop.

There's a grumpy amateur out your way named Matt Smith-he paints a few of those cacti and succeeds once in a while. I really think it's a nice choice of subject, when it cools off try to nail some color sketches from life-that's the trick i think.


10-13-2002, 09:39 PM
THIS was the only painting in oil I sold at my Botanical Garden show. It was in the gaudy gold frame and went for $800.
Love you all but I believe in luck as much as talent!!!!
AND I am usually the WORST at knowing my best.

10-13-2002, 10:57 PM
Congratulations on the sale of a strong painting.! For someone to stick their hand in their pocket and pull out $800 for a painting, is more than just luck.

10-15-2002, 05:13 AM
hiya dj...from the photo i see a nice contrast of the strong robust flowers with yet translucent petals, making a striking colour against the rest. to my eye this image would transfer to paint well only if it were done much larger than life. try a direct copy in paint at least 1200mm tall. get all the detail exactly as in the photo, remembering crispish detail to front, and less focused at back. perhaps? lots of love and kisses -e. {hehe}