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Old 06-10-2018, 05:36 PM
AllisonR AllisonR is online now
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Unhappy All over the place

Ugh! I am painting three paintings right now. One is turning out quite well, the other is mediocre, and the third is absolute crap. Per usual. I go through cycles, a good one, an ok one, an awful one, then back around again. Anyone else have similar problems?

Sometimes I make prepration drawings, sometimes a lot of tests, and other times very little preparation. But it makes no difference. My luck is random. No way to tell ahead of time what will turn out well or horrid.

Hare are my current paintings to illustrate this -
1. a fast, quick still life setup that I drew in about 6 hours, then painted in 7 hours alla prima. For the time and effort, I am quite happy with it.


2. A painting inspired by Jon Redmond. My goal was to emulate his use of hatched color and soft versus crisp edges. Certainly not original work, but I learned a lot about massing in shapes and edge handling. The result is mediocre.


3. A large painting, using a lot of scumbling and glazing over a grey value painting. I did a lot of tests preparing colors, values, soft versus hard focus... However the painting is very disappointing so far. Some sort of freaky pointillistic mess. Looking totally cheesy and tacky. And I have not yet figured out how to fix it.
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Old 06-10-2018, 07:13 PM
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WFMartin WFMartin is online now
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Re: All over the place

Well, #1 looks quite good, in my opinion. I cannot help you much with #3, because I've not had experience with pointillism.

I think #2 is one that could easily be brought into becoming a really interesting piece. I am not familiar with the artist who you are trying to emulate, but let me suggest that even impressionistic pieces exhibit a great deal of value differences.

This is silverware, and even as "loose", and as "painterly" as it may be, probably deserves to have intense, sparkly highlights on that silverware, as well as deep darks within the shadows of the bottom of the glass, where the handles come together.

Just my opinion. I'm a realist type of painter, but every so often I strike out into areas beyond my comfort zone, and I've often quite successful in doing so. I think your silverware painting has great potential, but at the stage of it at present, it makes for a very appropriate underpainting.......just waiting for the intense, final touches that you could give it.
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Old 06-10-2018, 07:35 PM
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Re: All over the place

An observation- you describe the first piece as something you did without stressing the details. The second, you were mostly studying but not overly concerned with, and on the third you made a huge effort. Your happiness with them follows in the same order. It seems to me that at least a part of what happened is you overwhelmed your emotional connection to the third piece with compositional red tape. Use the rules but you shouldn't make them the highlight of what you're paying attention to.

Relax yourself, clear your head for a minute or two, and just paint it
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Old 06-10-2018, 09:26 PM
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Re: All over the place

Allison: yes, I see. #1 really shines.....lovely.
# 2 is on its way, but perhaps too many soft edges?
#3, call me crazy; I would take away a lot of the landscape background and really get into the still life. ( don't hit me).
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Old 06-10-2018, 11:13 PM
Michaelshane Michaelshane is offline
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Re: All over the place

I don't like the first one at all.Nothing to look at.The other two are much better.They have interest.
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Old 06-10-2018, 11:45 PM
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billmahler billmahler is offline
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Re: All over the place

Good ideas above.
Yes, we do good ones and don't know why and then do bad ones and don't know why.
That's why it's an art, not a science.
The flowers have potential and merit more attention.
The shadows tell us the the light is coming from the viewer's right.
How do the flowers tell us that?

What is the center of interest?
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Old 06-12-2018, 09:10 AM
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Re: All over the place

Quote:
Originally Posted by Justadude
An observation- you describe the first piece as something you did without stressing the details. The second, you were mostly studying but not overly concerned with, and on the third you made a huge effort. Your happiness with them follows in the same order.
I was thinking the same thing.

Seems like your judgement on your work is inversely proportional to your expectations for it!
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Old 06-13-2018, 07:10 AM
AllisonR AllisonR is online now
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Re: All over the place

Quote:
Originally Posted by 0chre
I was thinking the same thing.

Seems like your judgement on your work is inversely proportional to your expectations for it!

Hmm, could be.

I was curious if any of you have this same issue - quality of work all over the place. And if so, what is the cause in your case.
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Old 06-13-2018, 08:22 AM
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Raffless Raffless is offline
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Re: All over the place

Quote:
Originally Posted by AllisonR
Hmm, could be.

I was curious if any of you have this same issue - quality of work all over the place. And if so, what is the cause in your case.

If you were consistent you would be bored stiff. Do you want to be consistent. Your not a machine.
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Old 06-13-2018, 10:18 AM
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Re: All over the place

Quote:
Originally Posted by AllisonR
I was curious if any of you have this same issue - quality of work all over the place. And if so, what is the cause in your case.
Yes, it's very relatable. When my expectations (or demands) are high, I get more stressed when painting. I feel more pressure and that limits my more intuitive way of painting, resulting in a less than optimal painting. On top of that, my standards for judgement go up with my expectations, so there is a bigger discrepancy between what I want it to be and what it actually is. So lower contentment levels.

Often I do my best work when I have given up on a painting, but continue painting just for the sake of it. When I feel I can't ruin it anymore (because I've already dubbed it a failure), I can paint very freely, relaxed and playfully and many times the failed painting is magically saved and better than I could imagine.

So summarizing, I think there is - objectively speaking - less difference in quality between your paintings than you think, because of your standards/expectations and perhaps your higher expectations for some paintings 'cramp your style' a bit (as they do with me).
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Old 06-13-2018, 01:20 PM
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Re: All over the place

Quote:
Originally Posted by AllisonR
Hmm, could be.

I was curious if any of you have this same issue - quality of work all over the place. And if so, what is the cause in your case.
I actually give up on almost everything I'm doing early on when it comes to art work- I'm awful at getting anything right for at least a few layers of paint, but somehow if I just keep making corrections and going at it without thinking too much, it ends up being nicely layered and accurate after all is said and done.

Here's some food for thought- you might just be looking at your third piece in greater detail than you realize, and it's the incompleteness, not any inaccuracies, that are bothering you. IE: you might have just layed a beautiful foundation down with that scumbling, and it just needs a few more layers of the same (with yet more variations in hue and value) to reach the full level of color and depth you l've been envisioning. I thought I was awful at grass until it became 10+ layers deep of scumbling, and now the grassy area of the painting i've been working on is one of my favorite parts.

-edit- just as a quick suggestion on that note- if you were to cap off those bush highlights with a just a little bit of a warmer, bright green, while adding a hint of an even darker shade of the cool green you've been using to the deepest shadows, they would pop right out. It's a great foundation, just needs some extra color and value variation IMO.
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Last edited by Justadude : 06-13-2018 at 01:33 PM.
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Old 06-13-2018, 05:28 PM
p_nathan p_nathan is offline
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Re: All over the place

Still lifes have a challenge: Why should we care? What draws one to view? I saw a painting of a french press last year that I could almost cry over - it was gorgeously done, and I love french press coffee. Out of my budget though, sadly. But that is personal.

The first painting is probably? personally meaningful. The shoes and choice of flower. It doesn't symbolize anything to me, and I would probably set it aside and consider it a valuable study. Maybe return to it in a year when the right alteration is put into place. That's my habit, at least - I hang pieces I'm thinking about on the wall by my desk and correct them over months and months of study.

The second painting is visually interesting. I think it's lacking a semantic focus: what moves the composition from a visually complex composition into something to carry meaning for the viewer. Personally, I would probably look to find a piece of food symbolizing maintenance - the daily work of using and cleaning your tools.

The third painting has tremendous potential - the joy of looking out your window at a beautiful scene with your hands in the dishes, and the pleasure of experience in the moment. My thought is that it calls for a stronger color set; you can use color to unify the counter and the woods, or contrast them - is the viewer & the house an observer or integral to the scene?
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