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Old 08-02-2005, 12:39 PM
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Masque Masque is offline
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1st aerial perspective comp-need advice

Hi, After a whole lot of reading, many sketches, and studying the paintings of others--this, ready or not, will be my first serious attempt at aerial perspective. Once again I'm asking for input from my WC friends to keep me on the right track. Questions for this forum center on composition while my painting is still very much in the planning stage. I've set the time of day at late afternoon, the sky is clear and the sun has softened as it has dropped a little in the sky; it's coming in on the viewers left. I'd like to aim for a mood that is sentimental, but happy and playful too. I'd like the viewer to sense a story here and see themselves or someone they love and think, "awhhhhh!" Any help would be greatly appreciated and please don't limit it to what's been noted.

This sketch is 18x24 and is to be the combined transfer drawing/final value study for an 18x24 pastel painting I'm planning to do on green Ampersand pastel board.

The composition was compiled from a good number of very old family snapshots taken on a camping trip over 40 years ago when my twin girls were about 3 1/2 years old. A labor of love, it's a 45th birthday gift for the little girl spooning sand into the bucket. The bucket being what I'm considering as my focal point.

I've placed the horizon high to avoid it dividing the head of one of the standing figure. However, because the horizon is so high I'm wondering if I've cramped that part of the composition too much and am giving too much emphasis to the water. A bad move? I may have made the figures too big, but wanted to give maximum expression to the standing figures face and couldn't seem to catch that "pleased with myself total concentration" in my smaller sketches.

In case you need color scheme to better evaluate composition, I've thus far planned Orange and blue compliments with discords of violet and green. I'll be directing consequent value questions to the Soft Pastel Forum after hearing from this forum and finalizing my design. Thanking you for looking and for any and all your input.
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Old 08-02-2005, 03:27 PM
Keith2 Keith2 is offline
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Re: 1st aerial perspective comp-need advice

I think the drawings of the two children are sensitively done, and they form the basis for a good painting.

I think the horizon might be too high. Usually if you have a high horizon, the viewer is standing on a high vantage point. In the sketch it looks as if the viewer is at about the height of the standing childs head, so I would have thought a lower horizon might be more appropriate( but of course the artist has the discretion to crop and amend to get a pleasing compostion). The rocks on the high horizon looks to be almost touching the childs head, which might look unsettling in a completed painting.

I'm never very good at painting waves and it looks like most of the paintings middleground will be water and waves. And it can be hard to paint aerial recession in a vast expanse of water.

I suggest the horizon be lowered and more of the sky be shown. On a hot summers day with a blue sky the sky where it meets the rocks on the horizon tends to be an impure blue (ultra blue partly neutralised with a bit of cad red)
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Old 08-03-2005, 04:04 AM
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Katherine T Katherine T is offline
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Re: 1st aerial perspective comp-need advice

Can we see the ref photos as it will be easier to check out horizon lines - must confess my eye was instantly drawn to the very small gap between the top of the left hand child's head and the horizon.

Without the recession effects in the water it's difficult to tell at the moment whether or not your child has the potential to come across as a giant - always a potential problem with matching references taken from different heights / perspectives.

I'd like to see some of the perspective lines in the water in the preparatory drawing - these won't necessarily be in the final painting but you need to check them out at this stage

My gut instinct is asking for a deeper margin between the child's feet and bottom edge.

Could you show us some alternative crops as well?
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Old 08-03-2005, 10:26 AM
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Re: 1st aerial perspective comp-need advice

My thanks, Keith and Katherine. I wish I could show you the photos, but have no scanner and no access to one until school starts this Fall. But, I can tell you that the horizon/sky area limits I drew are very close to one of the ref photos, though I did flattened the hills in my drawing to give the sky more space than the photo did. The ref photo of the standing child is a different photo-different horizon showing no rolling hills and no sky at all at the top of the photo; instead there is extremely narrow band of what could to be a distant bushy area. This photo shows the horizon actually touching the top of her head + even less beach below the her feet.

About the water. Though the photo with the preceived tree horizon is closer, far brighter, more vibrant, and far more interesting, the movement and values in both photos show darker values at horizon water's edge and lighter at shore. There are no waves, but water movement is clear. The 2 best water (4x6) photos show the perspective lines in the water close together and horizontal at the top and about 1/3 of the way down the photo begins widening out and slanting in to about a 45 degree angle at the shore line.

I could lower the horizon to half way between the top of her head and her ear, would that make the difference? Unfortunately, I can't figure a way to change the space between her feet and the bottom edge. Or, would it work if I changed the horizon to the narrow bushy horizon, curving it in slightly on both sides? I'd lose the sky, and it would shorten the aerial perspective, but it would give a little more head room for the standing child and maybe allow for darker values at the horizon's water edge. Would doing this maybe diminish the "giant child" possibility? Or, would it be better to drop the horizon to the level of the child's ear and show more sky-- would that shorten the the aerial perspective too much for distant rolling hills?

Should I dump this study and start over? Perhaps use this drawing on a larger canvas? This is 18x24; how much bigger would I need to go? I afraid the problem here is of my own making in sizing the children. I would have been better off sacrificing detail on the standing child's face for better more accurate perspective overall. Maybe just down sizing the kids would prove a better composition. Honestly, I'd rather start over than finish a bad composition.

Any advice?
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Last edited by Masque : 08-03-2005 at 10:33 AM. Reason: need to correct something
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Old 08-03-2005, 01:31 PM
Keith2 Keith2 is offline
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Re: 1st aerial perspective comp-need advice

It's hard to judge - I think you could pull down the horizon to about chest height, and make more of the sky.

One of the artists who regularly posts on this site is Jackie Simmonds from Middlesex - she writes articles in English mags, and I'm sure she has a web site. She has done many pastel paintings of children on beaches. you might get some ideas of how the subject is treated by looking at her work
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Old 08-03-2005, 02:23 PM
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Re: 1st aerial perspective comp-need advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith2
It's hard to judge - I think you could pull down the horizon to about chest height, and make more of the sky.

One of the artists who regularly posts on this site is Jackie Simmonds from Middlesex - she writes articles in English mags, and I'm sure she has a web site. She has done many pastel paintings of children on beaches. you might get some ideas of how the subject is treated by looking at her work

Thanks, Keith, I've experimented with lowering the horizon to chest height and it "feels" (the operative word here) in leaving only the middle third of the canvas as water I've lost too much of the distance perspective. I'll check out Jackie Simmonds site and hopefully it will give me some idea of what I can or should do to fix it. If not, I think it's back to the drawing board. I kinda felt I was going to get into trouble when I decided to combine so many source photos and then compounding the problem by upsizing the images of the girls so much. Sigh!

Thanks so much for your help.
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Old 08-04-2005, 03:05 PM
Keith2 Keith2 is offline
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Re: 1st aerial perspective comp-need advice

The web site is

http://www.jackiesimmonds.com
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Old 08-07-2005, 05:08 AM
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Re: 1st aerial perspective comp-need advice

cor, I am faymouse.

I have all ready commented on this image in the pastels forum, but just one comment regarding something said above, abut the sea being darker at the horizon.

This is a visual phenomena which has always interested me.

We "know" that "things get lighter as they go away in space" but the sea often shows a completely different story.

Ocean depths are often very very dark navy blue - the further out to sea you go, the deeper and darker. The contrast between sky, and sea, at the horizon, is often far darker than the contrast between sea and beach. Between beach and horizon, closer to land than to the horizon, we often see wonderful "patches" of brilliant turquoise.

A lot of this is to do with the depth of the water, and how much the sand on the bottom influences the colour of the water. After all, water is essentially transparent. Aerial perspective rules fly right out the window.

So - painter beware.

Jackie
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Last edited by jackiesimmonds : 08-07-2005 at 05:10 AM.
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Old 08-07-2005, 05:09 AM
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Re: 1st aerial perspective comp-need advice

Have you tried looking in the RIL as well to see if there are images which might help you sort out the issues?

The critical issue when combining photos is to make sure that either they were taken from the same height / perspective - or that you have developed the necessary skills to be able to make the required adjustments. This may just be a case of trying to stretch yourself a little too far maybe?

Do also remember that you are creating art rather than copying photos so that you can move the top line of the image up higher if that helps. Why not change the shape and size of the paper rather than changing the really important images within it?
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