Ellipses (Reprised). Rectangle method

edited September 2020 in General Discussion
Here’s an idea for checking ellipses.  When I draw out the image for ellipses I draw the cross for the major and minor axis and then draw out the ellipse connecting those points.  But I don’t always get the ellipse perfect and if the ellipse is off it’s noticeable so I usually do a lot of adjusting.  I just hold up the jar lid at the correct distance between me and the drawing to size it up.
I line the jar lid up with the major axis and then I tilt it to see if the ellipse I drew deviates. It’s especially useful for ellipses at an angle.  It’s not perfect but it gives me an idea of what to adjust.

[Deleted User]BoudiccaJulianna


  • Good idea, @GTO. Ellipses can be a real pain because if they are even slightly out they don't look right.
  • @GTO Thanks for the ellipse tip

  • Thank you.  I need all the help I can get.
  • GTOGTO -
    edited September 2020
    when Drawing or painting ellipses I’ve found that the intermediate points are difficult to intuitively see.  
    It’s too much hassle to trig out the points using the equation of an ellipse so a simple grid or rectangle method can be used.
    Until I get to the point where I can intuitively draw them with some degree of accuracy this may be the easiest way to go.  
    It’s not perfect but it helps.  For small or narrow ellipses maybe just one intermediate point may be useful.
    [Deleted User]
  • @A_Time_To_Paint   Radu Vero mentions it in his bio Understanding Perspective but doesn’t exactly explain how.  
    There are a couple videos on the technique some make it out to be more complicated than it needs to be.
    heres one that talks about it.  Forget about his angled line that he uses to segment the sides of the rectangle just make sure both the major and minor axis have the same number of sections.

    I’ll post my drawings in higher resolution here.

    BBB[Deleted User]JuliannakaustavM
  • @GTO  Can you mathematically help me out then,  I am right brained.  I have two mirrors behind me when I paint and I am constantly turning my painting upside down or sideways.  I can usually spot what is off.  

    I paint from life so obviously, a little nudge of a head tilt changes an ellipse.  My main thing is I want the painting to read, Can you help me figure out what is wrong with my ellipse?  (or anyone else so inclined)  Thank you!

    This is 16x12   OIl on Linen Panel   (I'm in a competition this month where I paint from life every day so I'm painting at a fast clip and super busy)   Something about this is off and for the life of me, ....    i can't nail what it is.  

    here is a photo of my messy studio setup  :  
    Horrible photos but you get the idea.  My only concern is the finished painting, i want a nice, framed painting.  No one will see my reference.  Does the ellipse look off to you?
  • @Julianna see the picture below.
    the blue arrow is pointing to where an ellipse is slightly wider than the opposite side.
    the green arrow shows where the edge is lower than the opposite side.
    the red arrow points to where there is a bit more glass than the other side.
    the purple arrow points to where perhaps the reflection is leaning to the left.  Should that be more vertical?
    Because of how you are treating your edges what I am pointing to with the blue and green arrows is not a big deal.
    overall I think  your treatment of the ellipses works and I don’t see any major problems.  
    I give you lots of credit with doing a painting a day.  That’s like running a marathon.  
    I like your linen covered panel.  That surface looks so beautiful to paint on.
    i read your blog on your studio setup.  I wish I were so organized.  

  • ohhhhhhhh   wow          that is so cool the way you did that.........  So, I reckon as long as I smudge enough and have lost edges, I can get away with imperfection.

    I really wish I was computer savvy like you!!!  Dang.

    Thank you for taking the time to help!
  • @Julianna it was easy enough, all I did was copy your image into Word and drew a few ellipses.  😀
    If you take a look at @shahin ‘s paintings that he has posted you will see how he “deconstructs” edges.  He posted a couple paintings of coffee and tea subjects with ellipse that pull that off quite nicely.
    For doing a painting per day you certainly develop the painting to a high degree.  
  • I didn't say I paint a painting each day - the rules state to "paint from life each day".  So, they haven't disqualified me yet.  My goal is to be mindful and pay attention, not to produce "crap a day" as I see some people just sloppily putting stuff out there.  I always try to be mindful, it is hard and exhausting.  I'd say I average painting about four hours a day (at least).  Last night I was struggling so finally posted at 11:50 with 10 minutes to spare on the day.  I'm at the halfway mark so it usually gets easier after this bend.  Thank you again for all of your help.  I really appreciate it.

  • wow. who did this? @GTO? I love it. how did I come to the picture again? I'm now convinced I suffer from some serious illness that doesn't allow me to read things and make sense out of them! I'm looking at all these rules and lines and for the life of me, I can't understand what they say! I guess its something that doesn't allow me to focus sort of illness! I really love this painting. not that I understood why it should have been compared to mine but just to have given some thoughts, however far from the subject of the conversation, I keep painting my round shapes from the inside out meaning that I don't draw the outer lines instead I take a wide brush and I paint from an uncertain central area toward the outer edges. this allows me to push the edges back and forth without being a prisoner to any pre-drawn lines. one it comes to some acceptable level I keep standing across the room making sure that the relationships between the upper and lower lines of my round shapes are in agreement with one another and then begin to compare the upper rims with the lower rims of the stem since if they aren't absolutely in parallelity the glass turns out wobbled! all of this I do from the farthest possible distance. not sure if any of that was within the conversation or not but I shared it anyway.  whoever did this, my congratulations to you

  • an example of what i was talking about! to me its done with the eye and never with rules and lines!
  • @shahin your description makes perfect sense, which is surprising to me since all that smoke from the west coast is now a haze way out here.  And I’m sure some of the stuff that grows in those California hills is adding to the effect.  But yeah, your cups and such look great.  Maybe after I paint a thousand ellipses I might be able to do it freehand the way you do. 😀
    the painting is by @Julianna, she is doing a month long marathon type paint challenge.  👏
  • @GTO,. this is a longer talk about the round shapes. doing it with rulers and lines has never worked for me for two reasons. reason one, once you put paint on it it is just like not having done it with any lines at all because it all goes to hell due to the loose strokes that are always there. there is a bigger reason though which gets me every time. look at this cup I did, you see zero balance from one side of the mouth to the other. think of it as an egg that gets bigger around on one side but not on the other. this right there is a phone conversation. call me when you have nothing better to do and we'll talk about it. frankly i haven't figured it out myself yet but i would be interested to hear your feedback on the subject after I get into it with you. 310.606.1153
  • Folks

    simple ellipse drawing.


  • @dencal denis thanks for posting the video.  That’s an excellent bit of instruction.  The point about the minor axis pointing to the vanishing point is something that could easily be overlooked.  
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