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Old 10-13-2005, 11:54 AM   #1
Carolyn Bannister Carolyn Bannister is offline
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Rev. Bill Romer




This is a composition sketch for a pastel, my FIRST properly paid comission!!

The client loves the face , train, general feel but said maybe to crop some of the jacket?

As you can see I'm planning on leaving the bottom quite sketchy, sort of fading out, does anyone have any thoughts?

Should i stick to my guns or not?

From top of head to bottom of jacket is 45 cms ( 18 ins)

Carolyn.
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Old 10-13-2005, 07:26 PM   #2
Janet Kimantas Janet Kimantas is offline
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Carolyn, there are many here who are far better qualified than I am to discuss composition. I just feel that I need to say that I find this to be a very endearing image. I like it very much. Janet
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Old 10-13-2005, 09:01 PM   #3
Enzie Shahmiri Enzie Shahmiri is offline
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Carolyn,

If you have photo shop scan the image, duplicate it and crop the duplicate. Then set both side by side to evaluate the composition. The cropped version will bring the train more into the foreground. If you don't have photoshop you can always take a piece of back paper with a square cut out and place it over your monitor image to get a feel what it would look like.

I like this image, the play of the different textures and the way you have handled him. Personally, I do not care for the suit jacket, since I find it too formal for a hobbyist.

I also would check his hand, which holds the train, again-it seem a tad too wide.
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Old 10-13-2005, 09:15 PM   #4
Debra Norton Debra Norton is offline
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Carolyn, when I covered the bottom of the jacket with my hand, the rest seemed way too busy and complicated; at the top of the picture is the busyness of his face, and at the bottom is the busyness of the train, too much for my eyes to take in. But when the jacket is uncovered it all seems to balance out for me. I like it with the whole jacket, and I like the way you've faded it.
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Old 10-13-2005, 09:18 PM   #5
Debra Norton Debra Norton is offline
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I also like the way the curve of the jacket helps bring my eye into the picture, up his body, and through the train to his face.
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Old 10-13-2005, 11:16 PM   #6
Marcus Lim Marcus Lim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Enzie Shahmiri
...Personally, I do not care for the suit jacket, since I find it too formal for a hobbyist.
I agree...in fact, if it's a more personal image you're portraying, how's the idea of adding more fun to it? Like maybe putting him in a workman outfit, plus an old train engineer's hat!
I'm sure the artwork will really wanna make him come "ALL ABOARD!"
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Old 10-14-2005, 05:24 AM   #7
Carolyn Bannister Carolyn Bannister is offline
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Thanks everyone for the input, have put this question elsewhere as well and as usual have two completely opposite opinions

So i think i'll compromise, i'm not going to actually crop the image but will leave out just the bottom line of the jacket leaving space under the train to balance the busy-ness of the top half.

We did discuss the jacket problem, its not actually a suit jacket its a soft material more a casual blazer and his wife prefered it as it covers his rather large tummy I will try and make it look a little more crumpled maybe? The original photos were taken in a sweater.

Now all i have to do is paint it
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Old 10-14-2005, 08:52 PM   #8
Terri Ficenec Terri Ficenec is offline
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Carolyn,
Sounds like a good solution

Congratulations on your first commission!!
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Old 10-16-2005, 05:46 PM   #9
Steven Sweeney Steven Sweeney is offline
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Carolyn,

I realize you're well into this and the momentum may be such that you'd be reluctant to make some adjustments, but I want to mention a couple of things, if only for "next time."

No matter what amount of cropping from above or below, you still have a format divided into the left vertical 1/3, with nothing in it at all, and the right 2/3, with the rest. I'm a fan and practitioner of unorthodox composition, but this particular division seems out of balance to my eye. I'm tempted to make suggestions for something "in the background" in that left-side space -- an unusual clock, perhaps, or a wall-mounted artifact of his religious life, or maybe the diagonal perspective of a workbench, if as someone suggested, this is a portrayal of a hobbyist. I don't know what to suggest, really, because I can't tell what the subject's "story" is -- that is, I'm not sure why this minister is holding a toy train engine. But whatever the theme, it strikes me that it could be represented in some fashion, however subtlely, to fill that void.

Because the format is already tall and narrow, the second observation relates to something more difficult to adjust. All the focal interest lies in two areas, right now of roughly similar weight, the head and the train engine, both of which lie right in the middle of the format, one directly above the other on a vertical line. A more triangulated composition, with the center of focus not necessarily in the center of format, might have presented less second-guessing about cropping the image to move the subject around within the format.

Unless the train is to become the "story" here, you'll have to be careful that it is rendered in such a way (softening edges, perhaps, or reducing value range or color intensity) as to avoid stealing all the viewer's interest away from the subject's head, which is already somewhat "secondary" simply because we don't get to see his eyes.

Finally, make a strong commitment to the direction of the light source and the way the light flows over the form. Just to pick out one thing to look at here, the uniform width and value of that shadow running from the shoulder all the way down to the wrist threatens to make the arm appear to be "pinned on."

As I said, I realize you're well into this, but the Forum critiques are also useful for bringing some general focus to bear on matters that any member-artist can always be thinking about.
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Old 10-16-2005, 05:52 PM   #10
Steven Sweeney Steven Sweeney is offline
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Oops. After hitting "Submit" I realized that I wasn't in the "Critiques" section after all. The fence was down, and I wandered into a different pasture.

But since most of my comments did in fact relate to composition, I guess the post is still responsive to the subject line.
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