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Painting advice

edited February 23 in Post Your Paintings
Hey all, 

This is a recent painting I've finished of my wife & daughter. It's my fourth painting so far. I tried to stick as much possible to mark's method although i deviated at times. I'm not really satisfied with the result because the subject isn't that exciting and i feel like there's a lot missing..  I know that not all values are laid in and my main issue is the edges, it looks like I've made them too sharp.        Also the brushwork needs work, but hopefully that will come with practice. Can you recommend any articles or tutorials about edges? Any other comments are welcome. 
Here's the reference picture. And the painting.  



  • @Marinos_88
    I took the liberty of changing the composition. The photo was rotated and cropped. Making a better more intimate story. It's compelling. More could even be cropped off the bottom.

    Get a copy of Andrew Loomis Creative Illustration.

  • I really like the painting.  It is faithful to the reference image and portrays a meaningful scene.

    You mention dissatisfaction, a lack of excitement, an issue with edges and welcome suggestions.

    I am just a novice so take the following with a grain of salt, forgive me if what follows adds nothing... just my humble opinion and an attempt to help.

    My main suggestion (which might tie together much of what you stated) is to paint a bit more with your heart and a little bit less with your eyes.  Your work should present not only what would have been seen, by dispassionate eyes, but what you did see with your eyes, a little of what it means to you.  This can be conveyed with composition and control of edges, contrast (saturation or value), and lighting, and can and usually should be subtle.  For example, the pattern on the pillow, although you've done it in shorthand (more abstract than in reality), it still has a good deal of contrast and brightness, which draws the viewer's eye.  The faces, the relationship, motherhood, the connection etc. are more important than the pillow, so the pillow should somehow look and feel as a non-entity to the viewer in the work, so that the focus keeps being drawn back to the two people, in particular the faces.  The corners can be de-emphasized with lower value (fictional shadows rather than vignetting), lower contrast and softer edges - using even more shorthand for those parts which are not important can lend excitement to those portions which are important.

    I own this book on composition and it is excellent:

    The shorthand or abstraction used in the painting in this DMP video at 4:41 I think does a great job keeping the important areas in focus and while keeping the supporting background of the work tame enough not to distract but supportive enough to make the painting work as a whole.  

    Mark does not mention it specifically, but observe towards the bottom edge of the painting, the stripes of the bottom of the dress become so abstract they simply fade out of existence, but somehow, as a viewer we don't mind at all! 

  • I thought the composition was fine until you cropped it, prefer the way you've done it.
    I will pay more attention to composition from now on and probably study a bit more before I start a new painting. Back to the basics!
    CBG - #
    Thx a lot for your input, after reading your post I can clearly see the issues now that I'm looking at the painting. I didn't realize there's a lot more than just laying in the paint on the canvas. I think I understand what you mean by saying paint with your heart and not your eyes. I was just copying a picture without thinking so much. I should have adjusted everything else to complement the main subject.

    Gentlemen thanks for giving food for thought, next Sunday I'll focus on studying!
  • @Marinos_88

    I'm glad you found my input useful.  Happy painting!
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