straight lines

After I finished a portrait of a little girl with all the pink and creamy flesh colors, I choose a subject contrary in any aspect… Architecture/gloomy/November/cold/dark. One of the reasons I choose this is my problem with painting lines. My hands are shaky, so I decided to train freehand straight lines (I overdid it I admit ;-) ). The drawing is not freehand, I copied it … (you might all have your hair standing up in shock…)…

There is nothing painterly about my canvas but… my painterly period is for later…

I have a problem with color matching because I have to match all this tiny little spots and I am often wrong with my choice… any idea how one matches tiny spots? I had this problem with the girl’s portrait as well… thank you all for any ideas and comments!

[Deleted User]JunebugMark_CarderMikeO[Deleted User]jrbgolfsRosanneZIMCastilloSummer[Deleted User]RomareoRonmycElsabeKitLeandroHenriqueBancroft414iwoolLucian


  • EstherH

    Splendid work. Little value errors matter little in a view like this. As long as the light direction if faithfully rendered, no one is going to compare it to the photo. The color checker is the best device for matching values until you get your eye in. The fact that you are recognising value errors means you will be applying mixing adjustments progressively. Remember Mark's advice ' the values will look all wrong until the painting is complete'.

    Keep goin!

  • edited May 2015
    @dencal I use the color checker when I am painting from life but from a picture? Would this work as well? My problem was that I had to repaint several things (like the towers and the house in the foreground) because values were not right. But maybe you are right, it just looks wrong because the canvas is not covered yet...? Will see...
    Unfortunately I have a problem laminating my pictures so I can not dab paint spots on the picture either... thanks anyway!
  • Great work so far. Don't sweat the "small" stuff . Keep on keepin on.
  • Mark_CarderMark_Carder admin
    Do not worry about the color at all, do keep your values in check.

    I love it!!!
  • EstherH said:

    @dencal I use the color checker when I am painting from life but from a picture? Would this work as well?

    No, it wouldn't. I agree with @opnwyder, if you want to make your life a lot easier you need to find a way to laminate your prints (with a crystal-clear laminate).
  • @jcdr Thank you for the motivation... I need it ... I was going to stop ....

    @Mark_Carder ok thanks! values first is written on my forehead!
  • @opnwyder I remember your painting well from the DMP gallery. I admire it, it is beautiful and eye-catching... Thank you for your lines.

    But now that I am doing windows as well, how did you paint these lines? They look perfect.

    My (one year old) laminating problem: I tried (almost) everything. My wholesaler put a picture out of my beloved printer (epson 3880) in every laminating machine he had in his store and they came all out milky (mostly in the blacks), so I have my own private milky way if I put all of the pictures in a line. I changed the laminator (all GBC's) three times... there is only one that works but the price for that one is +/- 2000.00. They couldn't help me further. So honestly I wait for a miracle... it might be something in the black ink... that's my last hope...
  • @martenvisser unfortunately laminating here is quite expensive and I was never happy with the result either.. see above, this might be a problem of my printer and I don't want to give him up... thanks!
  • @David_Quinn_Carder I thought so... Thanks David I hope I will find a way!
  • The laminate is just not thin/clear enough. I am not sure what your options are but maybe someone here knows of single laminate sheets you can order or something like that. If not… well, you seem do be doing perfectly fine without the laminate, so don't stress about it too much. It would just make things EASIER, that's all. I don't know know if it would make your work any better because you already seem to nail all your colors to me.
  • @David_Quinn_Carder do you have any experience with matte prints on epson matt paper (when the printer changes the black ink) if this would be as faithful to render colors as glossy modus? Have you ever laminated those matte prints? Thank you David for your help and yes it would make work a lot easier ....! But I don't give up yet...
  • You need to use the glossy paper with the photo black — don't use matte paper or matte black ink.
  • EstherH said:

    But now that I am doing windows as well, how did you paint these lines? They look perfect.

    I think there are three things that make painting straight lines possible for me.
    1. Using a straight edge to create the initial drawing.
    2. Using a very small but square ended brush. (Like the one I posting a picture of here)
    3. Using optical magnification of some sort while painting.
    A nice "Tee Square" or even just a long ruler can be a great asset in your initial drawing stage. I find that trying to paint straight lines with a round ended brush is next to impossible as well as extremely frustrating. There are very inexpensive yet highly effective magnification glasses (loupes) available on eBay and elsewhere that can very much improve your ability to put the paint where you want it on the canvas. (I included a picture of what I mean.) I can't overstate the value of this magnification to my own painting enjoyment.

  • I want those glasses - might even use 'em for painting too.
    ZIMEstherHopnwyder[Deleted User]
  • dencaldencal -
    edited May 2015

    Use a Rigger, liner or script liner brush with your little finger as a steadying support. Check out this video on YouTube:

    Use a mahl stick as a ruler to guide a steady line.
    Thinning the paint helps, as does a light coating of medium on a dry canvas.

    Don't watch the brush tip as you paint, keep your eye on the destination.

    Here is a better demonstration


  • edited May 2015
    @opnwyder and @dencal WOW this is really helpful! Thank you both for your advice.

    1. I thought using a straight edge is a big ‘no no’ … glad to learn that this is not true…
    2. The first house on the left is done with a round brush… no further comment needed… I was going to give up this painting a hundred times… and I am not over the hill yet...
    3. I will search for OMGlasses… I guess this will open a whole new world if I want to go more in detail (balcony’s etc.)…

    Denis: This brush with the long bristles is magic! I even had it in my brush-collection… (without knowing what it might be for... :-( )...
    I love the car-painting video with the cool sound… It is outstanding how he is painting these lines and if you look closer in the car window you see that he is even filming himself doing it… so I know what my goal is from now on... my car...
  • @opnwyder Scot, i came home from work and had a lot of things to do... but after reading your lines I went straight to the easel, put my lights (5500 K :-J ) on and started to paint. So much about the motivational aspect of your kind words! Thank you. Esther
  • I can't wait to see this finished. I think it's great.
    Walmart sells a box of laminate sheets. I use them all the time now.
  • @Ronna Thank you Ronna I will work every day on it... I am glad that you have the laminate sheets... Unfortunately I am 4000 miles away from the next Walmart ;)
  • EstherH

    Beautiful work. Very accomplished and professional piece of work.

  • Wonderful. For such a simple sky the painting still has such great interest. Well done.
  • @dencal and @jrbgolfs Thank you ! It goes down like honey...

    @jcdr You are perfectly right! I took this picture from a bridge. So I should have checked for the lens distortion which I completely forgot. But I think beside the distortion it was also me who added some more 'perspective' while painting... This is the original picture to compare.
    Thank you very much for this helpful hint.

  • love it! the tiny figures add so much to this!
  • Bravo! I love this painting.
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] admin
    edited July 2015
    While lenses can introduce other kinds of distortion as well, often time people really mean "perspective distortion" when they say lens distortion. It's important to understand that this is not the result of some kind of lens defect, it's just what happens when you're closer or further from the subject.

    If you photograph buildings from ground level, the only way the vertical lines of the building will appear (mostly) as straight lines perpendicular to the ground is if you hold the camera level. Of course, if you do this, you're only going to see the base of the building unless you're so far away from the building that the entire building fits within your viewfinder. That is an option, but if you stand really really far away from the building and zoom in on it, the rest of the scene will appear flattened and compressed, like this:

    Our eyes get perspective distortion the same way lenses do. It's intrinsic to how we sense 3D space. But with your eye, whatever you're looking at, it's in your center of vision. In a photo, you can compare how different lines relate to each other on a 2D plane, but in real life, all the "distortion" is peripheral to the central focus. It's like the way we don't see color in our peripheral vision, but you never notice because you can't turn your eyes to look at it. Also, we can't "zoom in" with our eyes, so if you stand far away from a subject to eliminate distortion, you won't be able to see it very well!

    Anyway… @EstherH, when you were standing on the bridge taking this photo, I don't think there is anything you could have done with the equipment you have (someone correct me if I'm wrong). I don't have any experience "correcting" the perspective to be more pleasing as a 2D image, but I think people do it, and maybe someone here has done it in Photoshop.

    There is, however, something called a "perspective control lens", which allows you to "correct" this issue when you take the photograph. Here is a photo of Hong Kong taken with a perspective control lens in order to keep the building lines perpendicular to the ground:

    Real life is reality, but photographs, paintings, video, etc are representations of reality. They don't need to sync up, and sometimes "fixing" reality somehow represents the subject better than merely documenting it strictly. :)

    Does anyone here have any experience with perspective control lenses?
  • It needs a signature.

    I sometimes paint what is hardest to me last. I tend to find my flow a little later in the painting and not at the beginning. Many times, the easiest is the background which works for me. Other times, I paint what I dread first. That is not the same as what I think is hardest. Even though you kept the water for last, it's my favorite part.
  • edited May 2015
    @rgr @opnwyder @Mark_Carder Thank you!

    @David_Quinn_Carder That is a precise explanation David, as always very helpful. Appreciate it... next time on the bridge I will go higher up in another building if possible... the picture of Hongkong is beautiful.

    @Kingston Thank you for your comments. I will consider these points of view before I start the next painting! I don't know what is meant by 'exaggerated perspective'. But sounds interesting.

    @MeganS Thank you Megan. I will add the signature when it is dry. This is a good thought about the 'flow of a painting' and therefore not paint the hardest first...
  • @EstherH if you really, really want to control perspective with your camera you could use a nice $2,000 dollar-tilt shift lens

    or you could learn the good old tried and true method of perspective drawing with this $40-How to Draw book

    P.S. Love the painting, the palette, the sunless sky . . . . . . . I want to jump in that water!

    [Deleted User]RosanneJudyCorstjens
  • @Castillo Thank you. I would love to have one of these tilt shift lenses! They seem to make beautiful panorama pictures that fit perfectly well together in PS.
    And the book looks especially interesting because it says 'sketching ... from imagination'. To me this would be the hardest thing to try... sketching from imagination? wow... but then I haven't tried... maybe I have to? Tempting... thank you.

    Pls don't jump in that water or I will have to repaint all the reflections :-D
    [Deleted User]GERARD61JudyCorstjens
  • In Photoshop and other editing programs there are easy to use perspective correcting tools. I often trace the original with a ruler at hand to extract and refine perspective lines.
  • Back to the painting, I think it's terrific. You do great work, and remember, we are not machines just a person useing our mind and fingers!
  • ... and the lady of the this thread could do with a little bit more of the other lady's looseness and 'happy painting'-mood! ...
  • @Ron Thank you Ron. I think I don't understand what you mean... Sorry, this might be my lack of English... :s
  • edited September 2015
    I read that Raphael would scribe grooves into his panel to help get straight lines and circles. Paint is so smushy!
  • @EstherH, sorry, I mean that we do the best we can with a difficult subject.
  • @EstherH I am new to the site and new to painting in oils but I keep coming back to this piece. It is incredible. I hope to be able to capture a scene like this as my skills increase. It reminds me in a way of some pieces painted by Alexei Butirskiy, who I find really appealing.

    Really great, cant wait to see more!

  • edited February 2016
  • @smasse   Sean, thanks for your comment! I did not know Alexei Burirskiy and I think it is very interesting to study his work! He is playing in another league though... Thanks for the link as well! Esther
  • @L.Duran    Thanks for your comment as well... even if I don't understand it... :-)
  • EstherH said:
    @smasse   Sean, thanks for your comment! I did not know Alexei Burirskiy and I think it is very interesting to study his work! He is playing in another league though... Thanks for the link as well! Esther
    I like your painting just as much as anything of his. He definitely captures a specific mood in his work, but I cant stop coming back to yours either!
  • Kingston said:
    You mean the Thomas Kincade of the 21st century
    Butirskiy definitely bears much resemblance to Kincade in the way he focuses on light and mood....except for I can't stand Kincade's work (not a fan of the dabbed paint and sort of etheral/fairytale look of his work). Butirskiy definitely captures a mood which draws me in. May not be everyone's cup of tea but I enjoy it.
  • I like Butirskiy's work too.  But the emphasis on lighting does remind me of Kincade's work.  :)
  • smassesmasse -
    edited February 2016
    Yea, I definitely agree with that...definitely different styles of painting though. Butirskiy is much more pleasing to look at for me.
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