View Full Version : Roumanian Rhapsody

12-20-2008, 02:48 PM

Title: Roumanian Rhapsody
Year Created:
Medium: Oil
Surface: Board
Dimension: 30X24
Allow digital alterations?: Yes!

This was commissioned by an engineer who worked on a project there this past year.<br>I liked the lighting and the contrast between the pre WWII buiding and the cranes denoting containerized shipping on the Black Sea.<br>I tried to put the figures in that context.<br>

How did it work?<br>

12-20-2008, 06:16 PM
I guess I'm confused by the title more than anything else. Not sure I see the "rhapsody" here.
Compositionally, the horizon line evenly splits the picture, and all the humans are aligned. The foreground is somewhat devoid of interest, as empty as it is, so I might be missing the point on why it couldn't be cropped to remove some of it. The human second from right might be a bit on the disproportionately tall side...

The sky is beautifully rendered, and the skyline of the distant city is excellent as a suggestion of the bustle of the environment. The off-center perspective lines are a nice twist, but I question why the vanishing point is of little import to the overall composition.

Might be a tad too much of an overall blue to the picture, but possibly that is due to the photograph.

It's unfortunate a large picture like this has to be reduced for viewing on a smallish web display. Probably substantially more visually exciting in person.

12-20-2008, 07:58 PM
Rhapsody in Blue?

12-20-2008, 08:26 PM
Good points, EJ
I discussed the large space in the foreground with the client and we decided to leave it as a means of conveying the scope of the area.
I also thought about moving the horizon, but left it where is for the same reason.
The camera added a lot of blue. The sky is primarily warm grays and the clouds have more blue in them.
The title is the client's.
Frankly, I'd rather paint things because they shout "paint me" to me.
This one didn't do that, but I think it tell several stories and I got to like it as I painted it.

12-20-2008, 10:40 PM
It is a pleasant painting. It is a very blue painting (in one shade or another). That was my immediate response to it title wise, as Laudesan has expressed it: 'Rhapsody in Blue'. There is nothing 'wrong' with it, and I can see why the client would be pleased with it. I am disappointed though that the dignity, (can one say gravitas' of a building?) of the building has been somewhat muffled by the medley of soft color and soft line. Nice, but not one of my favorites of your good work Bill.

12-20-2008, 11:13 PM
I imagine with a commission from a photograph the main objective (excluding making the commissioner happy enough to pay! :) ) is to provide something beyond what can be represented by a photograph. In that respect in particular I think you have been successful. I followed this piece in WIP and you have produced a beautiful reminder for the engineer of his project.

12-21-2008, 09:16 AM
Let's address the technical issue first. Whyever are you posting a picture with a blue cast? The cast can be photoshopped away but many forum members are not into software so heavily so the question poses itself, from where did the blue cast come in the first place? Can it not be choked off at the source, as should have, arguably, been Paris Hilton?

The villain is generally taking the photo in open shade. This leaves the blue of the sky to be the dominant light source in the photo and hence produce a blue cast. Photograph your paintings in one of two ways: (Best) bright sun on the painting at an oblique angle or (Second best) outside in full overcast. The sky will be pretty neutral at that point. And you've got to use second best if the painting is impasto or the sun will kick up a lot of specular reflections in the paint dabs.

I apend a photoshop which does not sing the blues so loudly. The other aspect of the painting which bothers me is the rather colorful pattern on the bridge sidewalk. I fear it steals attention from the building and have administered a course of Seconal.


I continue to love your stuff and note that this one is really masterful in your ability to suggest forms and build perspective in a fussy outdoor cityscpape.

12-21-2008, 01:05 PM
Thanks everyone for your thoughtful comments.

dignity, (can one say gravitas' of a building?) of the building has been somewhat muffled by the medley of soft color and soft line

Good observation, Corby. While working with millimeters to assure accurate perspective, strange things start to creep into one's head.
Who was (is??) the most famous resident of Roumania - ???

Count Dracula..

and that building kept looking like his castle to me..
so I intentionally lightened it up to keep the bats from flying out at me.

Thanks very much for the PS workup. Those colors are close to the paintings colors.

The villain is generally taking the photo in open shade
Yes, I did that to hold down the glare. I usually use tungsten with pretty good success but it wouldn't work on this one - too dark - so I tried open shade with the daylight setting.

The colors on that pattern aren't so frenetic on the painting, but I like your rendering and I'll go back and take another look.

12-21-2008, 01:28 PM
What were Van Helsing's final words to the Vampire?
"Well, Count, how do you like your stake?"

12-21-2008, 06:28 PM
Who was (is??) the most famous resident of Roumania - ???

Count Dracula..

Well, either him or

Vlad the Impaler
Nicolae Ceausescu
Nadia Commenici or
My ex-wifeOne of them was perfect. The other three I had/have no time for.

12-22-2008, 02:24 AM
A wonderful finish, Bill. Thanks for posting. My only crit is that the clouds look a little odd, but this really has a lot of interest, and I really enjoy the light.

12-23-2008, 02:25 PM
I think you've pulled this one off just fine. I like the perspective you've used better than that of the original reference photo (as seen in the WIP thread).
Fine job. The blue tint just makes it feel like its cold outside.


12-23-2008, 07:12 PM
Thanks for looking and commenting, Tali and JR.

The engineer has asked for 3 prints for the colleagues who worked with her on this project.

Now I have to see if I can get some better fotos to use for prints, and thanks to TG, I have some ideas on how to do that.

Reluctantly, I think I'll have to learn PhotoShop.