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Old 02-03-2016, 12:53 PM
lightlines lightlines is offline
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 62
Santa's Little Helper (Pleast move to Structured Critiques)


Title: Santa's Little Helper
Year Created: 2015
Medium: Oil
Surface: Wood
Dimension: 50cm x 60cm
Allow digital alterations?: Yes!

*Please post in Structured Critique Forum

I paint exclusively in the photorealism style. This is my very first composition (before that I relied on the reference library here and photos from a friend of mine who is a professional photographer).


I would be grateful for any feedback on:

1. Composition - what works? what doesn't work?

2. Technical painting techniques - things that I could have done differently from a technical perspective to make the painting more effective (this is my first non-study using Water Mixable Oil paints. Prior to this I worked in pastels.)


Last edited by lightlines : 02-03-2016 at 12:55 PM.
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Old 02-04-2016, 02:38 PM
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La_ La_ is offline
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Re: Santa's Little Helper (Pleast move to Structured Critiques)

I can find no flaws
If you could post a larger picture, up to 800pixels tall/wide, it would help us view the work better.

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Old 02-04-2016, 03:42 PM
lightlines lightlines is offline
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Re: Santa's Little Helper (Pleast move to Structured Critiques)

Hi La, yes, I can do that. This is actually an earlier photo that I took before I had finished the 2nd coat of the black background and signed it, for some reason I can't find the big file with the more recent version; suspect it got overwritten when I reduced it for posting here. I'll have to take another one, but it will have to wait until the lighting conditions are better as it's dark here now.

Thanks again for your help (PS hello from a fellow Canadian hanging out in Europe)
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Old 02-16-2016, 09:04 AM
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starfighter starfighter is offline
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Re: Santa's Little Helper (Pleast move to Structured Critiques)

Lightlines hi

Well this is pretty much a done deal painting If you really want critique... I think that the "story" of this work should end in light and reflektions, not darkness, and I see the left side of the board to be able to take a much darker position than the right pardon my spelling.
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Old 02-16-2016, 03:51 PM
lightlines lightlines is offline
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Re: Santa's Little Helper (Pleast move to Structured Critiques)

Hi starfighter, thank you for your comments. I agree with everything you say and would even go a step further now that I have had a chance to look at it for a few weeks.

Frankly the more I look at it, the more I have come to the conclusion that it is too dark (especially when it is hung up - it is drying on a wall right now and feels like a big black hole!). I copped out in the composition and went with a plain black background as I figured it would be easiest as I am new to oil painting (from pastels) and still haven't gotten comfortable with doing a good blended transition. I need to get over this and move onto more daring backgrounds. My current painting also has a black background but after this one is done I am moving onto something bright with light transitions....I'll just have to bite the bullet and figure out how to best do it.

Have a great day and thanks for taking the time to comment, it was really helpful!
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Old 03-02-2016, 07:58 AM
henrik henrik is offline
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Re: Santa's Little Helper (Pleast move to Structured Critiques)

The glass and christmas decorations are very nicely done! Kudos. The black void has already been discussed so I won't repeat that.

I think there are problems with the composition. The glass is too neatly tucked into the upper left hand corner. When viewing the photo it also looks like the top of the glass extends to the edge of the painting.
The left edge of the glass and red/ball is kissing the edge, and the glass appears to float midair in a magic way.

There is a small tendency to a ping-pong effect between the two red balls, but the bigger problem is the division of the space into big black void vs. glass.

The light is clearly coming from the left but it is not going anywhere after it hits the glass (it must be suspended in invisible wires mid air). I think there could be benefit in showing a hint of the light hitting a surface in the lower right. That would balance the composition and create an opportunity to have some counterpoint going on (colors shapes echoed elsewhere).

Hope this helps you.
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Old 03-03-2016, 01:59 PM
lightlines lightlines is offline
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Posts: 62
Re: Santa's Little Helper (Pleast move to Structured Critiques)

Hi Henrik, thank-you very much for your comments! Yes, just a bad composition all around, not really sure what I was thinking, it seemed ok at the time, sigh. Even if I were to add your light suggestions which I think are very good ones and would certainly balance things out a bit, there is still the issue of the big black void. All that work and I suspect it will still be around after my show, oh well. I guess I can pull it out at Xmas time and hang it up in my living room!

Have a great day and thanks again!
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Old 05-10-2016, 09:35 PM
londonA1 londonA1 is offline
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Re: Santa's Little Helper (Pleast move to Structured Critiques)

Photorealist painters have a tendency to plumb for the most difficult subjects possible. Glass is something most artists (including the Rembrandts and Singer-Sargents of this life) spent a lifetime trying to capture, so don't expect perfection in a few short years.

That said, I don't see any major problems in your painting. I think you've a slight tendency to use soft focus edges where they don't exist though. Check out Mark Carder's method for more advice on light - I get the impression you already know who Mark is though. Google him if not.
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Old 05-13-2016, 05:16 PM
lightlines lightlines is offline
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Posts: 62
Re: Santa's Little Helper (Pleast move to Structured Critiques)

Thank you for your comments! I will definitely take a look at the soft lines vs hard lines and make sure I get it right. Doing another bit with glass in it right now, so your timing is excellent!
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Old 06-12-2016, 02:10 PM
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MartinShannonxoxo MartinShannonxoxo is offline
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Re: Santa's Little Helper (Pleast move to Structured Critiques)

Thanks for sharing this one I think it is perfect, looks as if one could scoop up that wine glass and go.very real looking it's nice to see that you don't always have to fill the canvas with a bunch of stuff. The black you used is it a mixed I don't agree it think the background fits this image, but if you are trying to keep it black mix one that complements another color in the design Mabe utilize your light source not grey but dark and work your way out from there . I like this painting if you framed it with a unique frame you in my opinion won't have a hole in the wall any way I enjoyed this piece. Thanks for sharing. Oh and great jog for first time oil painting WOW! You got it down congrats.
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Old 06-13-2016, 11:22 AM
lightlines lightlines is offline
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Re: Santa's Little Helper (Pleast move to Structured Critiques)

Hi Martin, thanks for your comments, that is so nice of you!

Finally varnishing it now....and trying to get motivated to finish my current project.
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