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Old 03-25-2007, 03:09 PM   #1
Tammy Moore Tammy Moore is offline
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Critique 'Things That Endure' Please




I was going to wait until getting further along to post the WIP because I don't know how many of you can understand my wacky technique with its odd color shifts until the layers of primary colors are built up enough to settle down to the correct value and hue.

However, I do have come compositional concerns on this one that I would like to get feedback on before I get too much further along. The barn wall has very strong verticals and horizontals which must be carefully considered especially when the angle of the photo is slightly angled like this. Plus, I needed to just jump in to get over being intimidated to post my first critique request.

Digital manipulations welcome. I had to compress the images pretty heavily to stay under the forum size limit. If the images are too grainy or small, I can upload outside of the forum and link to them.

Copyright stuff: Permission has been granted by Erin, owner of Sweet Baby Photo, for this photo to be used for the painting.
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Old 03-25-2007, 03:13 PM   #2
Tammy Moore Tammy Moore is offline
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I opted to line up on the vertical boards not the horizontal ones so that the long line of that board on the left would not scream of being out of square. I am hoping to hear opinions or other options. I agonized a bit over what path to take, including squaring up all lines to be parallel with the edges.
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Old 03-25-2007, 04:10 PM   #3
Mischa Milosevic Mischa Milosevic is offline
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Tammy

This is coming along and will be a grand painting. Your concern is understandable and I believe you are doing well by having the vertical stand vertical. I also believe that you can do well by introducing new elements and exclude some. The line I introduced by his foot can give a hint of space rather than the flat. Maybe a sense of a wood floor would fit. Here are a few more visual suggestions.

All the best to you
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Old 03-25-2007, 06:44 PM   #4
Tammy Moore Tammy Moore is offline
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Thanks Misha.

It looks like your instincts are to get some diagonals in the composition to break up the static-ness of all those verticals and horizontals. That sounds like a good idea.

I did some reseach on this type of barn and the sliding barndoors it has. You can see the grooves the sliding has caused over years of use on the side in the reference photo. I was planning on eliminating the evidence of the wear since it makes too much of a continuous line from wear, to the fold in his pants, to the plank in the barn wall. I got some possible ways to get that diagonal in. I found some images of sliding doors with cross braces such as the brace here . I can work the diagonals to point to his face or to the leaf depending on which I want to emphasize more.

I don't think I will go for the wood plank floor since I do want to keep an outddor shot feel to it, but your suggestion got me thinking of how else I can soften that bottom edge's horizontal a bit.

I can emphasize the texture of the cement that is already there. The reference is small enough that it is hard to see on the screen, but the texture lends to a diagonal.

Another idea which I am liking more and more is to replace the cement with grass and flowers. One of the themes I am working with in this painting is related to the age and youth juxtoposition. The old, weathered barn that has stood across the time of a generation or two juxtaposed with the little boy, the youngest of the current generation. I think if I chose a groundcover that suggests spring growth, it will add to the juxtoposition of the decaying but still present leaf that the boy is holding. It is the perfect time of year now to see what plants are blooming. I also will enjoy the emotional interplay that he would chose to value the old leaf when surrounded by what you might more expect him to select to view, spring flowers.

A bit of extra background on the painting. I am a big city girl transplanted to the country to be near my parents as they age. I have to admit to feeling like it was the death of portraiture painting as a career being so far from a wealthy market. But I think I have made the emotional transition and this painting kind of marks it. Unlike so many big city markets, it is not the expensive furniture and high class-clothes that will be in my clients portraits. It will be the prizes of country life that will tell who they are. I will never command 4 digit prices here, but I will be able to say something valuable about a people that I have come to feel deserve to be remembered in paint.
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Old 03-25-2007, 08:54 PM   #5
Michele Rushworth Michele Rushworth is offline
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I think this will make a nice painting, but isn't it a lot more fun and personal to create your own composition?
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Old 03-25-2007, 11:10 PM   #6
Tammy Moore Tammy Moore is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michele Rushworth
I think this will make a nice painting, but isn't it a lot more fun and personal to create your own composition?
Fair question It already is personal for me because I chose it. Call it an adoption instead of bloodline birth,.LOL.

All the paintings I am doing during the few months before I restart my portrait business back up again are for my own selfish joy of getting to paint purely what I want to paint both in terms of images and in terms of mediums. Once I start taking commissions again, I will not have this opportunity but for rare pockets of time. I am savoring every second of it. Some of the paintings from this time are already and will be purely my own from initial plan to final brushstroke and some will be ones that I am inspired to paint that others were blessed to capture and were willing to give me permission to paint (such as with Erin in this painting). In gratitude I will be sending her a giclee reproduction of the painting.

It will have my own decisions whether to keep or change elements. Though I want to keep the elements that I think will be special to Erin. This was taken the day she and her son, the boy in the picture, went strawberry picking. Things tied in with that memory will stay. But I am making changes that don't matter such as removing white tags on the clothes that are distracting, a different crop than the original, a different angle, removal of the wear pattern from the sliding door so there is not such a strong horizontal line from wear marks to pants to lower barn board, and probably changing the cement to grasses and spring flowers.

No, it doen't feel any less personal a painting for me than the last one I created which was entirely mine from composition, to photography, to inventing fingers that weren't there in the reference, to the last and final brush stroke. This one is my adopted 'child'.
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Old 03-27-2007, 06:21 AM   #7
Mischa Milosevic Mischa Milosevic is offline
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Tammy, the cross brace or just the rusty nails or indication of nails here or there could be just the thing. I think if they point to the leaf it would be ideal being that the leaf points to the face. The brace, as you know, is just to keep the eye from going off the page and bring it back to the subject, the horizontals. Even though I like the idea of grass I personally would consider the concrete with a blade, a patch or two of grass, a dandelion. Sure the green compliments the red but the gray sooths the strength of the red and a hint of green and yellow can be the anchor.

I like your line of thinking in regard to what you paint and why. To represent a person, a people, a place in time I also believe should be the artists goal. I too have spent many a years in the city, different cities. Now days, even though I live a half hour ride from the city, I spend most of my time in the country. I quite like the little town of Bad Homburg and its location. The town is small and five minutes by bike and I'm in the fields but it has its hi end car dealers and I mean hi end. Me, I love to get on my bike and ride the many bike trails that this area offers.

Well must get to my art project being that I have a major exhibit coming up in a few weeks.

Wish you and your brushes a happy time.
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Old 03-27-2007, 11:51 AM   #8
David Clemons David Clemons is offline
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Just a couple immediate reactions to the image:
The space around him is over-emphasized, I feel. It also exaggerates his small size by the extra space. I like the old beat up wood and paint, but I think it could be lessened to some degree by cropping it more closely, maybe just from the top, and giving more importance to the subject.

What is he holding? Is looks like a dry leaf, but I'm not certain. He's intent on something he's holding, but it's not real clear as to what it is. If the shape were easier to read, maybe something other than a leaf...?
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Old 03-27-2007, 02:54 PM   #9
Grethe Angen Grethe Angen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Clemons

What is he holding? Is looks like a dry leaf, but I'm not certain. He's intent on something he's holding, but it's not real clear as to what it is. If the shape were easier to read, maybe something other than a leaf...?
I thought it was a butterfly.
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Old 03-27-2007, 04:39 PM   #10
Tammy Moore Tammy Moore is offline
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David and Grethe

I think the leaf being hard to read is more a product of the compression and small size when you post to the forum. It is quite readable at full-size. As I move beyond a composition-focus critique stage, I will try to post a few detail shots. If it still seems hard to read, then I will see what I can do to make it more distinct.

The leaf and co-emphasis on the old barn are key elements to the concept side of the piece and to connecting to my rural clientele who will probably just naturally see the barn first even with the cutest kid and barely a bit of wood showing. LOL. Heads turn here not for pretty girls or cute kids but for the ATV or farm tractor sittin' in someone's yard. LOL. It's not the typical portrait market, but I think it will be fun to explore the paintings that will come out of it.

I mentioned the concept and a bit about the rural area in an earlier post, so I won't bore everyone with any further repeat.
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