Paper Tiger Reprise-ed

edited August 23 in Post Your Paintings
This is a 36" x 24" oil on canvas.
Years ago I was at a museum and copied a japanese painting of a tiger from the EDO period.  I did that in pastel on paper. The drawing of the tiger in this painting is from that. The black rectangular object is a Tendo Kai.   It is used to hold down paper when doing chinese ink drawings.  Some companies in china will have a table setup for visitors to do a quick drawing. This tendo kai is from a fabric factory near the Three Rivers Gorge.   The cups are teacups from Osaka.
I set this up in a shadow box and worked from that. 
I have mixed feelings about this one.  It has been the most difficult one that I have done yet.

All comments and feed back are welcome.  



  • edited August 16
    I love it. The composition and wide format work beautifully. The drawing is excellent. Values look right. 
    You seem to have used very thin paint in this one. It has an almost watercolor feel. That enhances the Japanese feel of this one. 
  • Thanks @tassieguy.  That is right. I did use thin paint in this one.  That is one of the things I have mixed feelings about.  
  • In an oil painting I would normally question the thinness of the paint but in this case it works.  What else in this one do you have mixed feelings about?
  • The subject has a fluid, almost languid feel to it.
    I think the paint is just right for the subject.

    I have been doing a series of 12 thinned monochrome oils on paper.   I am enjoying the process and have actually learned a lot about the different ways oils can be manipulated; something I had not fully realised when working with them as per normal.    
    It is like doing watercolour, using oils and thinner as the medium, which gives the benefits of both in a sense.  I found that unlike watercolour, if you make a mistake, you can mostly remove it with acetone and start again!
  • I think its a lovely piece @GTO and I agree with the comments above that the thin paint lends itself to the subject.

    Im just a bit unsure about the way the teacup on the left is angled, but may just be me.

  • Thanks @MichaelD  the teacups have a small diameter and short base so they can balance at an odd angle like that.  I wanted to angle it so you can see the light reflections inside the cup.

    @toujours thanks for your comments.  It’s interesting that you get a languid feel from it.  I can see that working.  Back in sign painting days we would use acetone to remove enamel paint.  Works great.  

    @tassieguy the drawn characters on the right, especially the praying mantis. And the shine on the right cup.   
  • The insects look fine to me but I notice you've added more detail. They work either way but the simpler ones have a more Asian feel. I have to say that you have done an amazing job with the paper. It looks so real! Are you going to do more work on that right hand cup? I think the highlight looks right but it would also work without it.
  • @tassieguy I tried a number of things on the right.  Simple figures, no figures, bamboo shoots.  I even made a small origami paper tiger and tried that but it looked to “cheeky”.  
    I added the shine to the cup because the way it was lit in the shadow box made it appear too flat.  So,, to me, the cup lacks a certain sense of realism.  That might be due to the value of the shine and the reflections on the front of the cup. 
  • edited August 16
    You might be suffering from the old artists' curse, @GTO.

    I think if you were going to do anything with the cup you might think about lightening the top left corner where it curls up just beneath the lip. Like you have with the other cup. That might turn the plane and give a more 3D feel. Then you wouldn't need that highlight on the front.  But, really, this is nit-picking. It's a fabulous painting.
  • GTO said:
    Thanks @MichaelD  the teacups have a small diameter and short base so they can balance at an odd angle like that.  I wanted to angle it so you can see the light reflections inside the cup.
    Ah, it is just me, I hadn’t realised they could sit naturally at that angle. Its well done, like the whole piece is, and I like the reflections in it.
  • Thanks @MichaelD @tassieguy
    The “nit picking “ Is very important.  I try to pick along the way so that the amount of adjustments and changes don’t pile up.  If the do then they won’t ever get corrected.  But at the same time I don’t let that stop me from making drastic changes along the way or even when I think I’m close to finished.  No fear.😀
  • @GTO,
    I agree nit picking is very important, for if we didnt nit pick we would have a pic of nits, which would only be ok if you were actually doing a pic of nits.

  • edited August 16
    @MichaelD, I hate to quibble, but if Peter picked enough of nits and not a lot nicked off he'd have enough to feed his gnats and still some left to nibble.  :)

    Sorry, @GTO.
  • Beautiful @GTO! I tried to cover the insects on the right and it looks even better, at least the one in the shade? it may be just me though :)
  • Thanks @ArtGal. I appreciate your feedback.  I’m still trying to sort out what to do with that rigger area.

  • I like this a lot, @GTO I especially like the feel of that paper and agree with others that the thinness of the paint works very well -- especially for the paper. 
  • tassieguy said:
    @MichaelD, I hate to quibble, but if Peter picked enough of nits and not a lot nicked off he'd have enough to feed his gnats and still some left to nibble.  :)

    Sorry, @GTO.
    It begins to read a bit like  ...    "Nibble Nobby's Nits"!

    @GTO , I did not know about acetone and enamel paint.   That is interesting.  Did you need a mask?  I wonder what chemical reaction is set up?
  • @toujours we would use it to clean any grease or dirt on trucks or vans etc.  and it softens the existing paint so the enamel we applied would stick better.  It is extremely volatile so only use it outdoors.

    Thanks @Bucky I appreciate your comments on this. 
    Here is an early version where I tried an origami tiger in place of the drawings on the right side.  I tried a lot of different things.

  • @GTO
    I'm sorry GTO be but there's some amiss here. I can't see this as a cohesive unit. I see this piece that piece not a whole. In fact I missed the cup on the right altogether at first. I may be that there too much space. ?
  • Very interesting composition.  Obviously very challenging.  Why is the left cup leaning forward? This painting has that glance at a workspace feel to it, and I like the subject.
  • @Gary_Heath. @KingstonFineArt the photo above is just a photo of an an earlier version of the painting on the easel.  The photo at the top of this post is where I am at with it at the current time.
  • Perhaps the people who are a bit uncomfortable with the tilted cup are more tidy people than I am, but I don't have a problem with it.   I often see tilted cups around my house, so it is not unusual to me!!

    @GTO , thanks for the advice on the acetone.   I have been using nail polish remover and just dip a cotton bud in it then remove the mistakes, or bits I want highlighted. I then throw the cotton bud in my closed in fire box.    The room I paint in has a 12 foot ceiling and plenty of air flow, however,  I will take your advice on its volatility and if I use it on a larger surface, I shall go outside.
  • You have executed this very well but I can't add any more to what as already been said.  I wouldn't want to get to nit picky.
  • Thanks @oilpainter1950. There’s more to do to in this one.
  • edited August 17
    Like, @toujours, I don't mind the tilted cup. How often in great still life paintings does one see a tilted bowel, plate, cup or whatever? It's a compositional device painters have used for centuries. 

    I like the "workspace' feel of this - it's like you just happened upon it after whomever was painting the tiger had just left without tidying up. And I like the wide spaces and the separated objects. When I look at it as a purely abstract design it strikes me as marvelous. But, then, I like Cezanne whose paintings need to be looked at in the same way.

    I look forward to seeing how you finish it, @GTO
  • @tassieguy Yes, I have seen bowls cup tilted like that too in many works. 

    @GTO mentioned these cups can balance at an angle, so that cleared it up for me.

    I do love the painting.
  • I think this is really well done; I agree with @tassieguy that it gives the feel of a workspace that was left without tidying up.  I do that all the time, so this painting certainly conveys something.  I like the addition of the little drawings on the white scratch paper.  Gives the feel of someone kind of distracted from working on the main laborious tiger project and wanted to just play around a bit on the side.  (Also relatable.)

    I enjoyed seeing this.  (At first glance I thought your painting was a photo of the tiger painting on paper!)
  • Thanks @allforChrist   I appreciate your thoughtful comments.
  • Oh, cool, @GTO nice job on the origami too! The drawings you ended up with on the right work just as well too. 
  • Thanks @Bucky I appreciate your taking time to check it out and your comments too.
  • drawing within a drawing  :open_mouth: looks great and difficult one too!
  • No suggestions from me, simply in awe and eager to learn from you! Incredible. I may need to do a still life like this. Beautiful colors and composition. Teach me!! :)
  • Thanks @anwesha the drawing within is a bit difficult to get right. To get the image to lay on the plane.

  • @tinafigartist thanks very much appreciate your generous comments.  
    I watched Marks videos multiple times and realized after doing the first DMP that there was a lot of subtle info that he has in those video instructions.  

    With regards to the composition… that’s an ongoing concern with this one.  Things will be changing in the next revision.  I’ve done this before where I get into a piece and end up making big changes as I go.  Paint…scrape…paint… 😀 

  • Here's the latest revision.  Out of all the variations I think I like this one the best.
    I straightened the edge of the table and added a bit of a crease to it.
    I also removed the brush drawings and added the pastel chalk sticks.

  • edited August 21
    @GTO I like this very much, I also like the first one with the insect drawings.

    This is becoming a series with an ever changing area.  :)
  • Thanks @MichaelD.  I had to correct the table edge from the first image.  I also felt the insect drawings didn’t “weigh” enough in the first image and that space felt too light and empty.
    oh and I also tweaked the ellipse in the right cup.

  • I like the crease you put in and like the idea of the pastels.
    I do worry the 4 pastels may be a little too "placed" in position.  I would have loved to see two rolled together a bit randomly, or one at a slightly different angle.    However, that is only my opinion, and this is your painting, and an excellent one it is.
  • @toujours I appreciate your input.  And I do see what you mean about the "placed" feel of the pastels.  I wondered about that myself.  You've confirmed my suspicions.  I was a bit concerned about having too many of them there.  
  • GTO said:
    @toujours I appreciate your input.  And I do see what you mean about the "placed" feel of the pastels.  I wondered about that myself.  You've confirmed my suspicions.  I was a bit concerned about having too many of them there.  
    I think if 2 of them were together they would form a "block" and that would you leave you with the odd number that human brains seem to prefer.
  • GTOGTO -
    edited August 22
    Made some changes to the pastels and adjusted the bottom section of the paper so the shadow is closer to the table edge.  And modified the far background.
    I made the pastels beefier and moved them.

    (Updated with polarized image)
  • I love it @GTO !  it looks amazing, I would leave it a s it is :)
  • Thanks @ArtGal.  Yes.  I do agree.  This one is done. 😀
  • You have nailed it @GTO, it looks great

  • Thanks @MichaelD. this one was especially difficult for some reason.  I wanted to do something that didn’t have the dark background.  And I wanted to use paper again.  
  • I like the changes, @GTO. The pastels were too evenly separated before. Now they look more natural and in keeping with the workspace feel. The paper looks great, too.  :)
  • Thanks @tassieguy. This one was more difficult than it looks.  The cup, black Tendo  Kai and paper in the upper left were easy, everything else was a struggle.  But I like the way it has turned out.  
  • Well, for all your struggle, I think you've produced another wonderful painting. Those paintings that are a struggle are probably the ones we learn most from, @GTO:)
  • wow, it has been very interesting reading all of your “flows” on this painting. @GTO It looks great and refined . Congrats
  • Thanks @joydeschenes @tassieguy.  There were moments when I thought of setting this aside and starting a different painting of something I am adept at, but then I thought …what would be the point of that?   I posted my struggles with this to show that struggle and trying different solutions, even changing composition to some degree.  We do learn more that way.  But I do love it when a painting practically paints itself, this just wasn’t one of those.😀
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