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Old 10-09-2002, 07:47 PM   #1
Elizabeth Schott Elizabeth Schott is offline
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A guy's perspective might be helpful...Value & Color




I would appreciate any input regarding the value and color of this piece, any other comments too.

This is a photograph that I took as an impressionable art student on my way to study in Rome. This seedy character was hanging out at the train station in Luxemborg. A very lovely country, but this was not part of it. HIs image has been with me for many years and wanted to see if I could translate it into a pastel. I have really been reading a lot pertaining to value and thought this would be a good exercise. PLEASE NOTE IT IS NOT DONE YET!

So the first image is the reference photo (I know Sharon...bad photo, but great subject!)
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Old 10-09-2002, 07:50 PM   #2
Elizabeth Schott Elizabeth Schott is offline
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Here is the overall work. I am thinking I should bring some of the dark red down to the right bottom somewhere. I did this on a dark eggplant color of Colourfix sanded paper with a number of different pastels. I was hoping to catch the rather unhealthy look of his skin, especially in his face... plus some bruising on his body.
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Old 10-09-2002, 07:52 PM   #3
Elizabeth Schott Elizabeth Schott is offline
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Here is the detail. His tattoos, although abundant, were not well done, his hands were dirty and his nails long. I can see from this post, that his hands almost look turned the wrong way because of the length of his nail sticking out over the end of his finger, I'll need to work on this.
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Old 10-11-2002, 05:41 PM   #4
Elizabeth Schott Elizabeth Schott is offline
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So do you think the subject is too much?

Is the color too intense? I know this might be a stretch for "Portrait" considerations, but I really wanted to push myself, and give a try to something out of my comfort zone. Does this portrait make you uncomfortable?
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Old 10-11-2002, 07:43 PM   #5
Mai Ly Mai Ly is offline
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Hi Beth,

Overall, I like the vibrancy of the colours, which go well with the subject that you are painting. I do think the yellow behind his left hand is a bit too bright.

For the subject's back, I would use a cooler hue for the part that is farther back. For the spine and his left shoulder blade I would use a cooler hue, instead of the same ochre that you have used for his right shoulder and his right side which are both closer to the viewer.

The same with his face. I would use a warmer hue around his nose and nostrils, which are much closer to the viewer, and cooler hue for the left side of his face (which is supposed to be in the shadow) and the left side of his forehead. Right now, it appears that you used a mauve/violet colour for the nose and around the mouth, but a relatively warmer colour for the part of his face that is in the shadow.

The rule of thumb is cooler hue for things that are farther back, and warmer hue for those that are closer to us.

The anatomy of the left hand is not correctly drawn. The highlights around his fingers need to be toned down a little. Also, the left hand is furthest away from the viewer, it should be painted with a cooler colour, instead of the ochre (a very warm colour) around his palm.

The white part of his left eye and the reflection on that eye should not be as sharp (or bright) as the right one.

The hairline does not look very realistic.

I know that the painting is still in progress , so I hope that I did not sound too critical.

Hope my feedback helps!

Mai
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Old 10-12-2002, 10:27 PM   #6
Elizabeth Schott Elizabeth Schott is offline
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Thanks for the input Mai!

Quote:
"The rule of thumb is cooler hue for things that are farther back, and warmer hue for those that are closer to us."
I have been so confused about this, do you judge the temperature of color by the rule you quoted or do you go by the lighting (Kelvin or Relative)? If the figure is bathed in warm light, the shadows will be cool and vice a versa? This has confused me. I think it was you who told me this suggestion on the Carousel portrait and it made a world of difference in the background.

It is the same with the decision to use a pastel that is "the" color you want, i.e.: a darker shade of your local color or do you just incorporate the cool or warm shadow concept - using greens, blues or purples for your darks?
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Old 10-12-2002, 10:43 PM   #7
Mai Ly Mai Ly is offline
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Hi, Beth.

I apply both the rule I quoted as well as the 'warm light source/cool shadow and vice versa theory'. I think that what you are confused with is that there is a subtle difference when you talk about hue. For example, you have a subject bathing in warm light, so you decide that the colour 'yellow' is the colour that you want. Once that is identified, you have decided what version of the yellow that you want. Is it a yellow with a cool hue version, or a warm version?

In a painting, the part that is closer to the viewer would be painted with a warmer version, and vice versa. Cooler colours/hues recede and warmer ones come forward. It is a like an illusion that you want to give to the viewer. You have to also see which is more of a dominant colour. So, for example, the recent painting that you posted, his left shoulder blade is farther, it should have a cooler version of the ochre (or a cooler colour) that you have chosen for the part that is closer to the viewer. Same thing with his nose and left side of his face. The nose was painted with a much cooler colour (which has the illusion of receding), while his shadow on the left cheek (painted with a warmer red colour), which appears to come forward, etc.. His left hand is painted in a dominant yellow
colour, when it is the farthest object in the painting. I would use a different colour for that hand (some cooler olive ochre, light blue highlights with cooler brown or violet for the shadow parts).

For your reference, you can look up "Capturing Light and Color with Pastel", by Doug Dawson (my favourite book). It is out of print so I don't know where you can buy it now, but I am sure any good library would have it. It is an excellent book and I refer to it from time to time. In the book, he has good sections on colour theory, compostion, light and shadow and how to paint certain (difficult) subjects.

Another book that you can look up is The Fine Arts Series "Theory and Practice, Basic Principles & Language of Fine Art". I like it because it teaches and explains colour theory, composition and lights and shadows in a 'scientific' manner. It also explains to you 'why' things are in certain ways. And once you understand 'why' things work (the basic principles) you can apply or manipulate it better as you paint.

Mai
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Old 10-13-2002, 12:48 PM   #8
Chris Saper Chris Saper is offline
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Hello, Beth.

I have a couple of thoughts with respect to color temperature in general, and your painting specifically.

I tend to generally have a different opinion about color temperature and distance. I think that the "rule of thumb" about warm and cool colors is mainly an atmospheric concept. (Here, I rely on both observation, as well as "Carlson's Guide to Landscape Painting.") Atmospheric shift in color temperature is an optical construct, and it is reliable. In viewing a scene of long horizon, all colors are visible in the foreground. As objects recede into the middle ground, the yellows drop out first; as the vista continues to recede, the reds drop out next, and then you are ultimately left with the blues. Within this construct lie other optical rules: edges progressively soften with distance, as does saturation.

Most portraits employ a relatively short "depth of field". The color of the light source governs the color temperature of everything in both light and shadow. Once the temperature directive is acknowledged, I think that the larger color consideration is saturation, or color intensity. When the "depth of field" in a portrait (say, the distance between the feature closest to you, and the feature farthest from you) will rarely be more than three inches, I don't think it is in any way practical to rely upon "rules" that work best at distances of thousands of feet...i.e., the unobstructed landscape. The way to control the temperature directive is through saturation, value and edge management, rather than through a formula for temperature alone, which in this case doesn't apply.

Beth, with regard to your painting itself, let me begin by saying that I understand why you are drawn to this extremely compelling image. However, I would have to also say that it is one I would not consider as suitable source material for a painting. It is missing all the basics I would want to see (at least if it were my painting) at the minimum: good (or even reasonable) color information in either light or shadow, good (again, or even reasonable) information with respect to value, and a confusing silhouette. Compositional issues are usually resolvable up front, but the shape of the silhouette is very important. So as a result, I think you have given yourself a series of problems to overcome, that I know at least I would feel were insurmountable.

In this regard I always return to my simple way of looking at my canvas: this portrait stuff is difficult enough without my actually adding to it!

I hope this is helpful.
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Old 10-13-2002, 07:02 PM   #9
Elizabeth Schott Elizabeth Schott is offline
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Thanks Chris and Mai, I was afraid I was getting myself in trouble with this guy, but I so loved him! I think this is one I'll be happy to table, but thought the challenge might teach me a few things... which it has thanks to the two of you! Perhaps a garage sale for this one.
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Old 10-14-2002, 09:16 AM   #10
Sharon Knettell Sharon Knettell is offline
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Garage sale or inspiration

Beth, I agree with Chris on this one, both about the material and color. Her color explanation is born out in Daniel Greene's tape on color.

Sometimes we are compelled by subject matter and we aren't sure why. We should allow it to percolate in our subconcious and never dismiss it. Often it is a door to another more powerful way of expressing ourselves. Sometimes these seeming detours can be scary, but if we examine them, they can compel us to stretch and create a body of work with greater meaning and depth. One woman artist I would study is Kathe Kollwitz. This is not to say we should abandon things we love, like color and aesthetics, but to take a leap into an area that is entirely new to us. It can take a lot of courage.
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