Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Learning from Crits, Part 2: Painting with new information.

A couple days ago I posted my Art Order "Inspiration Challenge" entry. I'm really happy with how the piece turned out, and a lot of that has to do with some of the decision making I dealt with while creating the piece. The crits from Illuxcon offered me some great insight of angles I wasn't considering when making a painting. In this post I'm going to use my latest piece as an example of some ideas I tried to incorporate based on the feedback I received on my portfolio. Here's the piece again as a refresher...
Antlion - Finished Painting
One of the things that Robh Ruppel talked about during my review with him was that I should be organizing me values in order to best serve the focus of my painting. I've stripped out the color of this piece to make it easier to see the values, and I've added some notes to the painting. The main thing to note with this image is that I made the areas of focus have the highest contrast (look at and around the face and mouth). Now compare the face of the creature to the values of the trees in the background, and the objects in the'll notice that there's a much more narrow value range in these areas, they almost blend into the other non-focus elements. This was a conscious decision I made to ensure that the viewer would keep their attention right where I want it...the face.
Greyscale image with notes
Now let's take this one step further by using a threshold layer to turn the image into 2 values, pure black and white. In this image you can see that composition for this image is really just a dark object on a light background. The creature is the focus, thus I want him to pop out from the background.
B&W Threshold layer
In the next image I want to point out all the elements that help move the eye around the painting. All of the arrows indicate different elements that direct the viewer's eye around the image. Almost all the elements in the piece are helping direct the eye around and back towards the focus of the piece (the creature).
Lastly, I wanted to talk about the importance of color arrangement. In this next image you can see I've stripped out all the values of the piece leaving just the colors. You can see the creature's shape still holds up, based solely on color you can still tell what the focus is. I pretty much placed a colorful monster on a blue backdrop, so anything that isn't blue is the creature, thus it stands out from the background and pops more. You can also see that in the appendages and body fur, the colors are more muted than they are in the face, saturation control does a great job of helping enforce the focal point of your image as well.
I'm no expert, and I know a lot of this might sound long winded and repetitive in some places, but I thought it would be fun to share some of what I've been thinking about in my work lately and maybe you can start thinking about it in your own work, or use this as a refresher if you already know all about this stuff. Either way, writing this all up helped drill the ideas into my head even further so I'm excited to bring these lessons with me into my next piece.

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