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Old Tuesday 23rd February 2010, 23:44   #26
timwootton
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Love it, Philip - just love it. The background reads as water to me with that slice of energy where the drake cuts his way through the surface. I know why you chose to do this scene as your 'first attempt' at backgrounds - because on the face of it, it would seem to be a fairly straightforward task to accomplish - but it isn't, yet you have done so and with aplomb.
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Old Wednesday 24th February 2010, 09:55   #27
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great stuff, and the simple background allows the mallard to live in a space defined by its habitat, and not an outline that would have been needed had the picture been on stark white.
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Old Wednesday 24th February 2010, 12:00   #28
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I have to say that I like the new drawing with the background. I think it would really be worthwhile to do a series with developed backgrounds.
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Old Wednesday 24th February 2010, 16:48   #29
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I like them all. The mallard with the water is lovely but I can also see the merit in having a minimal background, the goldfinch for example is striking with nothing to detract. I do think this is very much personal taste though.
Personally, I am often not keen on doing backgrounds so I have an empathy here....I also think it very much depends on what you want the final result to be.

Nice work, whatever:)
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Old Wednesday 24th February 2010, 17:47   #30
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Originally Posted by mosca View Post
Well I have had a go at a background and I think the good news is that it can get better

I will plug at it and hopefully get better, though I do still like the emptyness of a white background for some pictures.

Anyhoo let me know what you think? Also maybe some of you backgound afficionados (sp) could give me a few pointers

All the best

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A very fine drawing Mosca, a nice still scene, the water just right.
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Old Thursday 25th February 2010, 13:10   #31
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Thank you to everyone who has posted
All feedback is helpful and very nice of you, also extremely helpful.
The links and suggestions have enabled a bit of homework too (that is a good thing by-the-way).
I can be very hard to see our own picture as it is, as we spend so much time looking at it through our planned perception our vision can become warped. Which is odd considering normally we spend so much time trying to see things as they really are.

or to put it another way, You can't always see the wood for the trees

Anyhoo, the best

mosca

RussB I have been using grades H6to B8 and a very large ball of putty rubber. There are others here who are better to advice you on paper but for these drawings I have been using 370g/m untextured water colour paper.

Last edited by mosca : Thursday 25th February 2010 at 13:29.
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Old Monday 29th March 2010, 15:11   #32
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A couple of new dawings.
The first I was asked to draw (don't worry it's not christmas ) the others a quicker picture with background (of sorts).
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Old Monday 29th March 2010, 16:16   #33
ARTHUR BISHOP
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the mallard is superb done
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Old Monday 29th March 2010, 16:43   #34
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Both very sensitively done Mosca! A real pleasure to look at.

I think that one day you may find yourself doing more complex backgrounds but it will come at your own pace. These are incredibly striking as is.
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Old Monday 29th March 2010, 17:09   #35
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both are great, the mallard is stunning.
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Old Monday 29th March 2010, 20:29   #36
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Tremendous work again - superb.
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Old Monday 29th March 2010, 21:42   #37
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these are some of the best bird drawings I have seen.... you can almost see the color of them.... if that makes sense.... Paul
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Old Tuesday 30th March 2010, 02:54   #38
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i like em, they have that "life" to them that can be so difficult to capture... thanks in part to the spot-on proportions! Combine that with skillfully applied shading and detail work and, well you end up with something like this. Thanks for sharing.

Russ

PS I liked the earlier ones you posted with a plain white background alot too, I do similar stuff myself :)
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Old Tuesday 30th March 2010, 07:02   #39
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super, and you jumped right in like you've done it for years, mallard is striking
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Old Tuesday 30th March 2010, 08:07   #40
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Beautifully done, the mallard is just the sort of thing that would stop me in my tracks on a gallery wall.

Mike
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Old Tuesday 30th March 2010, 18:46   #41
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LOL, well this is certainly the place to come if you are feeling a bit insecure about a picture.
Thanks very much for the kind and encouraging words.

I think I have found a compromise with the background of the duck picture. Most of it is not factual and the technique is very scruffy in a controled disorganised kind of way.

colleenc, I forgot to say thank's for the Birge Harrison book recommendation. I've not finished it but it is lovely to read.

hunterpaul,
I'm pleased you said that about the colour. One of my main aims recently has been to try to describe colour with graphite. I thought it worked ok with the chaffinch so tried a predominantly black bird (Ring ouzel) to see if I could get the black and white contrasts while still including detail.
As the Robin is so famous for its red breast I thought it a good opportunity to draw it grey and see if it would still look red breast-ish.
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Old Tuesday 30th March 2010, 19:05   #42
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interesting idea to imitate colour with monochrome, obviously I'm biased, but I don't think it is possible, monochrome being a part of the colour scale. It's like trying to play a piece of music with different notes. At first glance, I thought the robin was a black redstart (obviously, looking properly after it is clearly a monochrome robin), as I read the breats and the back as the same colour, whereas in reality, they are just the same tone. I've always wondered about using monochrome to describe different colours of the same tonal values on a bird. I remember drawing woodpigeons in black and white, using hatching in different directions to at least separate the breast from the back, which tonally is very similar.

Being honest, I find monochrome very difficult - I'm ok with black paint, pencil and biro, but line drawing is witchcraft to me.
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Old Tuesday 30th March 2010, 20:39   #43
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I do know what you mean Nick, but as someone who leans towards impressionism I'm surprised to hear you say that. hunterpaul very nicely said " you can almost see the colour" not you can see it. I'd be concerned if he had.
I am not drawing red with grey I have tried to describe it. I agree that it is a bit like “trying to play a piece of music with different notes", but only a bit and if we didn’t we would all be playing the same songs or probably have packed up and gone home. There is more to it than just trying to the high notes. I like to learn new skills and news ways of doing them, to me. I know that pencil drawings like these can get up some peoples noses and that's fine (and I quite like it too) but also being honest, having spent so much time in contemporary art, something as simple as using a pencil and paper from the corner shop to produce a picture is not a million miles from a folk song.
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Old Tuesday 30th March 2010, 20:57   #44
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Like I said, it's interesting, and just because in my opinion it's impossible to describe colour in black and white doesn't mean it's not an idea worth pursuing. Attempting the impossible is a very commendable thing to do!
I hope you didn't misinterpret my comments as belittling, I genuinely find the idea intriguing, though my personal way of working is 'to describe the colour, just use the colour', it's fascinating to see a different approach. The only thing that gets up my nose is my finger, and really I should stop doing that as it's a terrible habit! ;-)
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Old Tuesday 30th March 2010, 21:09   #45
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The only thing that gets up my nose is my finger, and really I should stop doing that as it's a terrible habit! ;-)
Uh oh! I hope Alan is reading, with his sketchbook near!
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Old Tuesday 30th March 2010, 21:10   #46
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Lol, well I did find it a little belittling but that could be my own insecurities about the work. As it is new territory, to me, there is a certain amount of unease in it. The colour thing is just a part of what I am trying to do with the work and I was pleasantly surprised that hunterpaul had mentioned it. I always presumed it was one of those little bits we put in that no one will see but we know is there.

Thanks for the input, sometimes the best way we can see our work is through other peoples eye.
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Old Tuesday 30th March 2010, 21:20   #47
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Sorry I came across that way then, certainly not my intention! Though it's clear we both work in very different ways, there is plenty I learn from looking at your work and I very much enjoyed both these new pieces - and the debate that followed, I wasn't trying to force my opinions upon you in any way, that would be a terribly rude thing of me to do.

Back to the debate, I wonder if it's the brain filling in what we know to be there with the colour. I've always wondered what a colourblind person may see in a painting for example, and I remember once discovering that I was capable of being pink/yellow colourblind, that was exciting!
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Old Tuesday 30th March 2010, 21:35   #48
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Uh oh! I hope Alan is reading, with his sketchbook near!
Actually I meant "isn't" instead of "is", but too late now.

Back to the serious debate and a slightly different perspective. I've always loved color. But as I've worked more in black and white I've come to think that black and white work can seem colorful.

But then I began to think that it's not so much that black and white is colorful as that what I like in color work is tonal contrast, almost as though I really see it as monochrome.

This is just a thought that's been rolling around in the back of my mind and maybe completely wrong!
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Old Tuesday 30th March 2010, 21:41   #49
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I think sometimes colourful pieces can read very uncomfortably tonally, certainly, lots of colour is no reason for lack of tone. Black and white can certainly be vibrant.
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Old Tuesday 30th March 2010, 22:43   #50
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Not to get off on a tangent here, especially on Mosca's thread, so this is the last I'll say.

As soon as I said that maybe the appeal of color might really be the appeal of tonal contrast I knew I was wrong. Tonal contrast and color are really two completely different things, at least to me.

I do think though that they are two of the most powerful aspects of art. And sometimes they seem so close that they're almost the same. Then they really seem to reinforce one another. But then you can have a monochromatic piece that is very vibrant but doesn't have the emotional impact of color or a powerful color piece that as Nick says is "uncomfortable tonally." And then they're not close to each other at all. Just two tremendously powerful but individual tools of artists.

Hope I haven't muddied the waters, or given anyone else the headache that I now have...........
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