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Old 04-04-2003, 11:17 AM   #1
Mai Ly Mai Ly is offline
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'My Angel' composition




Hello everyone,

I would like to ask everyone's opinion about a composition of my current painting. I have underpainted it with white + raw umber, and was going to put colours on it, until someone I know said that the girl looks like an angel, hence the title 'My Angel'! However, ever since then, I keep seeing the two 'wings' (cushions) stick out from her sides, and not sure if it a good composition, looking like that. What does everyone think? How is the composition as a whole?

Any suggestions to improve this composition will be much appreciated!

Sincerely,

Mai


Here is the painting in full. It is oils on linen, size 22" x 18".
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Old 04-04-2003, 08:35 PM   #2
Chris Saper Chris Saper is offline
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Dear Mai,

I think the pillow on our left works extremely well, with its softened edges and gentle curve. I do agree that the cushion on our right is a problem, not because of thinking about the wing-like aspect, but because it forms a pretty perfect point, that is a real design competitor - you are so right to catch it at this stage! The point is even more pronounced because it forms a tangent with the row of wicker that leads into the juncture of the hat and brim. You might use some thumbnail sketches to experiment with different pillow shapes/sizes, a drape or throw over the wicker, etc.

Good luck, I look forward to seeing the progress on this portrait!
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Old 04-05-2003, 10:25 AM   #3
Mai Ly Mai Ly is offline
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Thank you, Chris for your time reading my post and your suggestions.

A drape over the settee sounds like a good idea! I think I will try it out with a smaller round (or square) pillow with maybe, one small long pillow, overlapping each other.

I will keep you and everyone posted how this comes out!

Thank you again,

Mai
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Old 04-08-2003, 12:52 PM   #4
Mai Ly Mai Ly is offline
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Adjusted composition

I have now adjusted the composition. I am thinking of putting something on the right of the painting (not quite sure yet, maybe a picture frame or small vase of flowers, or a wall design) to balance the painting. It will be a bit out of focus so that it won't take away the attention from the girl.

I will also put some subtle designs on the pillows at the final stage so the colours and patterns will tie in with each other.

I think it looks better than that of before (thanks Chris!), but if anyone can see something that is still wrong or needs improvement, please let me know. It would be much appreciated!

I apologize for the quality of the picture. Something is not working right with my Photoshop.

Regards,

Mai

Here is the updated composition:
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Old 04-08-2003, 01:54 PM   #5
Jean Kelly Jean Kelly is offline
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Angel

Mai, I'm looking forward to watching this develop.

Jean
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Old 04-09-2003, 10:25 AM   #6
Mai Ly Mai Ly is offline
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Thanks for the encouragement Jean!

Mai
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Old 04-09-2003, 09:10 PM   #7
Elizabeth Schott Elizabeth Schott is offline
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She is so sweet Mai, I like the new one better! Keep posting the progress.
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Old 04-09-2003, 11:15 PM   #8
Valerie Gudorf Valerie Gudorf is offline
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Mai Ly, this little girl is simply charming! I think you did a wonderful job with the underpainting and the changes definitely strenghthen the composition. Isn't the wisdom to be had on this forum a wonderful thing? I look forward to seeing the finished piece (actually, any WIP postings of this one would be great, also).
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Old 04-10-2003, 09:53 AM   #9
Chris Saper Chris Saper is offline
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Dear Mai,

I realize this image is for underpainting purposes, and I think you have successfully dealt with the pointed pillow.

Composition is driven at least as much (and often more) by the manner is which the values are distributed. Have you done any thumbnails to indicate where your darks, middles and lights will be? The dress and background all seem to be similarly middle-light values, with just one small island of darks.

I am not a glaze painter, so I have no experience here, and I realize that you may be staying purposefully lighter at this stage. Still, I think that it is worthwhile to do your 3-value massing thumbnails, based onhow you see the final piece to be painted.

Good luck!
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Old 04-10-2003, 10:50 AM   #10
Mai Ly Mai Ly is offline
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Thank you for all the encouragement. I will try to post the painting in progress as I go along.

It is an experimental piece for me, and I ought to have done a smaller piece! I am just about to get the idea of how to glaze. I am not a glaze painter, and this painting is not meant to be totally glazed either. I just want to glaze the skintones and the dress in certain areas because of the softness and subtlety of these areas. I think the glazing will show some of the underpainting through, hence enhances them. For other areas, I either scrumble or paint opaquely over them (highlights).

Thanks, Chris, for reminding me about value thumbnails. I learned about the value thumbnail from you in one of my very old postings. Ever since that post, I always bear in mind what you said about values, darks islands etc. and try to do thumbnails whenever I can and study them. So, for this painting, I did two sets of thumbnails: one to study values and the other for colours.

Because it was for underpainting purposes, I did not put the darks in too dark. The left of the background will be dark because light is coming from that direction. The lightest light will be the girl's face, and where her hands are. The middle value will be the cushions, dress around that area and the right side of the background, which will gradually gets darker as it comes down to the long cushion on the right, and ties in with the dark from the bottom right of her dress.

Thanks again, and I will keep everyone posted of the progress.

Mai
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