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Old Friday 31st July 2009, 18:32   #51
colleenc
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it is fresh and immediate, like Chinese brush painting, no need for more work this says it all IMHO
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Old Saturday 1st August 2009, 14:30   #52
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Thanks for your input Colleen! Sometimes it's so difficult to know when a painting, especially a watercolor, looks done. I'm really reluctant to go back into this and overwork it so I've let it sit for a few days. On the other hand I don't want to leave it looking half-finished. So it's very helpful to me to know that it looks done as is to others!

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Old Saturday 1st August 2009, 15:48   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colleenc View Post
it is fresh and immediate, like Chinese brush painting, no need for more work this says it all IMHO

I agree, Colleen....

Sometimes less is more.......


I like the way the Flycatcher totally stands out from the limbs and leaves
but the colors are the same.... Excellent highlighting and technique
I think you can end it on this perfect note....
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Old Saturday 1st August 2009, 17:26   #54
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I agree, Colleen....

Sometimes less is more.......


I like the way the Flycatcher totally stands out from the limbs and leaves
but the colors are the same.... Excellent highlighting and technique
I think you can end it on this perfect note....

Thanks very much Beach Birder. Another vote for leaving it just as it is! That's the way I've been leaning but it's nice to hear some supporting opinions.

Ken
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Old Tuesday 4th August 2009, 15:32   #55
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I snatched an hour from this morning before work to try some live sketching of mallards, Canada Geese, and a stray pigeon or two at Valley Green, a quiet stretch of the Wissahickon Creek in Philadelphia.

More than anything I think they convinced me of the possibilities, and thrills, in working from life. All were done with my naked eye. I mistakenly brought my wife's binoculars and couldn't figure out how to get the eye cups down so that they'd work with my glasses. I know this is a very simple task, but I just couldn't figure it out and decided my time and energy was best spent drawing, not fiddling with binoculars!!
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Old Tuesday 4th August 2009, 17:37   #56
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Some very nice preening shapes with the mallards Ken and the Canadas are just spot on. My personal fav though, is the single mallard, which is full of 'duckiness'. Good use of an hour, methinks.
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Old Wednesday 5th August 2009, 00:48   #57
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nice work Ken, and the color adds a lot, your comment about the thrill of live work is ditto for me, and the bare eyes thing goes back to the post I put up earlier about the difference of each kind of "seeing" with and without various aids influencing our work.
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Old Wednesday 5th August 2009, 03:12   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colleenc View Post
nice work Ken, and the color adds a lot, your comment about the thrill of live work is ditto for me, and the bare eyes thing goes back to the post I put up earlier about the difference of each kind of "seeing" with and without various aids influencing our work.
Hi Colleen,

I knew I'd really enjoy live sketching if I could ever force myself to do it. You and the rest of the people here at the forum have been the impetus I needed to get out and do it! I think a few more weeks of it and I'll have gotten far enough that it will become an everyday habit.
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Old Wednesday 5th August 2009, 03:16   #59
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Some very nice preening shapes with the mallards Ken and the Canadas are just spot on. My personal fav though, is the single mallard, which is full of 'duckiness'. Good use of an hour, methinks.
Thanks Tim,

Your example and that of others here has been a great impetus for me to get out and work from life. It really is just what I needed.

The "ducky" duck was the one duck that came out of the water for me. In fact he was only about a foot away when I drew him. I knew he wouldn't stay so maybe I made an extra effort to get him down quickly. And sure enough he was gone just as I finished...........

It's my favorite as well.
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Old Sunday 9th August 2009, 15:55   #60
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I was happy with my last pastel and charcoal drawing of the Piping Plovers so decided to go back to that medium for this drawing. One thing I like about it is that it allows me to improvise quite a bit. I improvise in watercolor too but seem to get myself painted into a corner much more quickly.

I wasn't sure where this would go. It's based on another of the photos of the Acadian Flycatcher I took this spring. Like the last watercolor it tries to keep the sensation of brilliant light of the sun shining through the leaves. I'm not sure how much more I'll work on it. So it seemed like a good idea to post it here and see if anyone had any comments.

It's really somewhere between naturalism and abstraction. I just have the hardest time being patient with background foliage. I think part of this is just impatience but part of it also is, I think, the desire to be expressive and also to let the bird take precedence. Anyway enough talk, here it is!
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Old Sunday 9th August 2009, 19:23   #61
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I looked this over and played with it in PS.....hope you don't mind some comments, IMO
there are too many parallel lines, see pink dots, too many lines lead the eye out off the page, there are two dark shapes , see blue lines, that compete with the bird. The single branch the bird is on is one thickness across the whole work, making a sort of cut.. Where branches cross and make even Xs can be an element that makes flow harder.

the last piece you did this way did not have these issues, and you balanced the light very well as well as integrating the elements in an elegant way....I think you have some of this well done, but it may be better to try it again rather than correct this one. I also tried cropping at different places to move the bird a bit off center more, but don't think that is as important as all the lines the branches make and where they are going...

This is only my view of things, and mostly we all cheer each other on here so hope I'm not out of step with a detailed crit, others may have a different view.
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Old Sunday 9th August 2009, 19:43   #62
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Hi Colleen,

No you're not out of step with a detailed crit, though my guess is that it's something we all struggle over when it applies to other's work. Should be give one or not? For my own work that's fine. The only danger I think is possible too much self-consciousness once you start considering a detailed crit. But I think eventually you do learn how to assimilate criticism. So thanks for the taking the time to comment.

When I was a graduate student, and probably undergraduate as well, one of the most common reactions on the part of the artist to criticisms was: but that's what I wanted. Sad to say that is somewhat my reaction here, and I know how cliched it is.

Part of what drew me to this photo was all the vertical lines, particularly the ones with the catkins attached. As far as the horizontal lines, you are definitely right that the horizontals of same width going across the full page can really divide up the drawing. I really need to take a good look at this in light of what you say and see if I agree. The dark shapes are somewhat the same. The dark shape on left was one thing that appealed to me in photo, though much less so the one on the right. And that shape has been troublesome to me from the start. It may be that it just shouldn't be there. On the other hand when I lightened it up so that it less prominent something seemed wrong with the drawing.

But my original intentions and what eventually solified into the drawing may be quite different things! So I'll now need to take a good hard look and see what I think. Again thanks much for your comments.

Ken
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Old Sunday 9th August 2009, 23:11   #63
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Good to read such a dialogue - most welcome IMHO. For my own part, I think this is the strongest piece you've posted here (and there have been a few goodies already). I like the design and the viewer is drawn to the focal point very nicely.
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Old Monday 10th August 2009, 07:38   #64
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Part of what drew me to this photo was all the vertical lines, particularly the ones with the catkins attached.

But my original intentions and what eventually solified into the drawing may be quite different things! So I'll now need to take a good hard look and see what I think. Again thanks much for your comments.

Ken
I can see your point, and I've run into this myself. It's not the lines themselves that are at issue, it the regularity of them in spacing as they run parallel to each other. It is the nature of the brain to make regular even spaces. Try putting 9 dots in a 3x4" rectangle, just without thinking.... then look to see how many spaces between the dots are the same or close to the same, now try again and make each division of space different, it's very hard, and you have to really notice what you are doing with each mark.

When I look at Nature she somehow does all these spaces and each one is slightly different, and graceful in the random way they occur. In grass stalks for instance, but the same will apply in a non objective abstract, placing shapes in space, as you know from your background, takes great consideration to make it balance and flow. In realism this is still a challenge to me as it was in the abstract.
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Old Monday 10th August 2009, 15:13   #65
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Good to read such a dialogue - most welcome IMHO. For my own part, I think this is the strongest piece you've posted here (and there have been a few goodies already). I like the design and the viewer is drawn to the focal point very nicely.

Thanks so much Tim! I appreciate the compliments. I have done a lot of reworking since then, mainly to try to unify the far background. But I'm afraid I might have killed off some of the freshness and sense of warm summer light. Hopefully I regained much of that through today's work but I need to let it sit for awhile before knowing. When I think it's finally done I'll post the final version.
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Old Monday 10th August 2009, 15:19   #66
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I can see your point, and I've run into this myself. It's not the lines themselves that are at issue, it the regularity of them in spacing as they run parallel to each other. It is the nature of the brain to make regular even spaces. Try putting 9 dots in a 3x4" rectangle, just without thinking.... then look to see how many spaces between the dots are the same or close to the same, now try again and make each division of space different, it's very hard, and you have to really notice what you are doing with each mark.

When I look at Nature she somehow does all these spaces and each one is slightly different, and graceful in the random way they occur. In grass stalks for instance, but the same will apply in a non objective abstract, placing shapes in space, as you know from your background, takes great consideration to make it balance and flow. In realism this is still a challenge to me as it was in the abstract.
Hi Colleen,

I've taken a good look at this and I just don't see the problems that you do. There is some regularity of spacing but I think that can be used as a decorative pattern and that's what I've tried to do here.

I have reworked it quite a bit with the idea of unifying the far background. In doing so there was one point where it was so unified that all of the branches jumped to the foreground and at that point I think it looked somewhat the way you see it: a dominating predictable pattern. Oddly enough I think that the dark shape on the right is really necessary to help preent this. I've moved it out many times now and always end up putting it back in.

I need to let it sit now. I'm afraid I've lost some of the freshness that almost inevitably comes from reworking many times. But I hope that when I next look at it I'll decide it's done. I'll post it when I finally think it's done.

Ken
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Old Monday 10th August 2009, 17:38   #67
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I'm sure you know what works and what you see is not what I do, there is always the issue of the camera making colors lose nuance and overemphasizing the contrast, so what ever suits you is just right. :-)

As I said before, it's not that this one needs changing, just something to consider when you do another piece. I find this particular thing a real challenge, so I may be over focused on it.
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Old Tuesday 11th August 2009, 15:10   #68
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I feel like I've been through the looking glass and back with this one. On Sunday I felt that the background was a little too disjointed and seemed too much like abtract markings and not enough like something that could pass for naturalistic illusion.

So I went back into it. I think I lost some of the bright summery freshness almost immediately. So the last two days I've tried to retrieve it. It has been a bit of an ordeal. At the same time I've enjoyed it because that's the way I used to work when I did abstract and non-objective work. It could sometimes take awhile until I felt the work was finished.

I think this is now finished. I don't know if it's better or worse or if anyone else will even notice the difference!! I have tried to get it back to what it looked like on Sunday. In any case I am happy with it, and happy to be done!
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Old Tuesday 11th August 2009, 18:08   #69
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I think you improved it, esp by integrating that dark shape more into the background but that's just my opinion....

Thought it might be interesting to see them side by side. Of course this is the photo and not the work so we aren't really comparing them, but you can see what I mean about that shape.
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Old Tuesday 11th August 2009, 20:16   #70
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A very interesting dialogue, and of course, constructive criticism is not really a reaction to the work, but an expression of personal taste - always welcome and worth listening to though as it can take you down some interesting paths - even if the final result is 'I painted what I wanted to paint'. Lots to think about here. I agree with Coleen that the regular spacing is an impedimet to certain aesthetics in the picture, but I agree with Ken that the same regular spacing can be the interesting feature that makes the picture stand out. The end result is a beauty, lots of interest in colours, tones and patterns.
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Old Tuesday 11th August 2009, 23:33   #71
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I agree with Colleen, the dark background shape was a bit dominating, distracting from the primary focus a tad. So a good decision to knock a bit of the wind out of it.

Mike
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Old Wednesday 12th August 2009, 02:44   #72
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Thanks Colleen, Woody, Nick, for your comments. This has been a tough one to bring to a finish. My one point of agreement with Colleen was the dark shape on the right. It did seem too strong. But everytime I removed it, and I did so at least 10 times, the right side fell apart. So I ended up with this compromise.

All in all I think my own misgivings and Colleen's comments got me looking at it more critically and that led to many changes, far more than show up in the final version. But Tim's comments reinforced my liking of it. So that kept me cautious about destroying the parts I liked. Anyway to make a long story short it was a difficult but fruitful experience.

I hope the next one is a bit smoother!
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Old Wednesday 12th August 2009, 10:09   #73
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I hope the next one is a bit smoother!
Ha! _ I bet it won't be!!! - And that's the beauty of this game - and why we consantly tear our hair out.
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Old Thursday 13th August 2009, 14:46   #74
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Ha! _ I bet it won't be!!! - And that's the beauty of this game - and why we consantly tear our hair out.
I'm not sure where this quote came from, probably some very old movie. But I think it's fitting: Ain't dat da truth!!
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Old Thursday 13th August 2009, 18:23   #75
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I realy like were you ended up . dont give up on the water colours looking forward to more
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