View Full Version : Asters on Spruce Street
11-01-2002, 01:01 PM
Title: Asters on Spruce Street
Year Created: 2002
Dimension: 16 x 20
Allow digital alterations?: Yes!
Okay this is my first full painting that I composed myself without direction. I wanted the bricks, window and ivy to be sort of a background and the windowbox with asters to be the focus. Please be brutally frank...and thank you for taking the time to help me!
PS: the photo is a little off kilter, the actual window is not.
MY QUESTIONS FOR THE GROUP:
1. How can I improve the composition?
2. Is the subject interesting to anyone but me?
3. As I look at it, I see a mishmash of style. I think I am going more for realism, but am not yet skilled enough to pull off the flowers...or is it that I am being too anal with the bricks/building? Should I have tried to be looser with it?
4. Anything else you can think of!
11-02-2002, 02:54 PM
I think the strongest elements in your painting are the flowers and the ivy. The flowers are well done, and I especially like the ivy coming down from the top right. The lights and darks give the leafy mass a nice three-dimensional feel. I can see depth in it. I also think the leaves are well rendered.
The composition is pretty static. The window is in the center, though I'm not sure where else you would put it. The ivy does introduce some diagonal movement, which is good.
The bricks are well done (pretty time consuming I'll bet), but they are stealing the show. The brick morter is actually what is doing it. If it weren't quite so bright, I think the other elements would start to get their fair share of attention.
A look inside the window is pretty disappointing. I'm not sure what the green thing is in the lower part of the window, but it is in fairly sharp focus and has nothing to offer. The shape of the drapery is not particularly interesting either. It might be interesting to see a person in the window, or a cat or something.
The moulding around the window could use more accuracy, especially at the top. It is not symmetrical. One side has grooves and the other side doesn't. The vertical pieces on each side are not the same width and the lines are not straight. The one on the left has modeling that makes it look rounded. The one on the right looks flat. Organic elements like foliage, flowers, and even bricks can be loosely rendered without raising questions. A manufactured item like a window needs more attention to detail. Symmetry is expected, and it's easy to tell if it's not there.
I fiddled around in Photoshop to give some idea of what I was thinking:
11-02-2002, 08:20 PM
Scratchmaster, thanks so much for your comments. I just learned a trick to ensure my lines are straighter and hope I can pull it off next time. Regarding the other aspects of the molding, I painted it exactly as it appeared in my reference photo. I am learning I can edit my reference photos, huh?
You know, I had trouble with the treatment of the inside of the windows as you could see. I was afraid that if I included too much inside of it, that would draw attention away from the flowers, and since the ivy is already pretty bold, that adding something would be too much. I did want the emphasis to be the flowers.
I took my photo reference early afternoon on a very sunny day. I think it would be better if I had caught early or later in the day and gotten more interesting shadows. I have noticed that during those times of day, you will often see the view from across the street reflected in the window. I thought that might be interesting to try to paint, but again am concerned it might be "too much" especially since the bricks and windowboxes make for a pretty busy painting. Thanks for the time you took to help me with this. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate it. Robin
11-03-2002, 06:56 PM
In addition to scratchmasters' suggestions... here are a few more.
If you want the flowers to be the focus point, I think you need to increase contrast in this area, and play down the window. There is also room for improvement on depth by adding shadows.
In the attached image I did the following.
- increased constrast on flowers
- reduced saturation and value of window (the white is a bit overpowering and interior a bit too saturated).
- made interior warmer
- added cast shadows on the curtain and green stuff from window
- added shadows from flowers and foliage on wall
- added reflections of flowers in the window
- made green in flowers warmer.
11-04-2002, 09:22 AM
Hey! I like that. Thanks so much!!
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