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Topic: first oil painting ever, still life, wet on wet. constructive criticism needed  (Read 3650 times)
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edelC
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« on: January 29, 2015 06:33:00 AM »

Hi folks.

so I bought oil paintings and have made a start, it is not wonderful, but it is not dreadful. It is wet on wet

anyway this is a still life and was done in about an hour or so. original composition for reference. Looking at it, I see that I have missed shadows that the grapes had thrown onto the limes and lemon particularly..

but what else..any advice/ criticism would be very welcome..as it is the only way I will learn!
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« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2015 06:58:56 AM »

You have a really good base to work with! I'm impressed. I think at this point you need to start looking for your lightest lights and your darkest darks. For me the areas that stand out are the (relatively) really dark areas of shadow on the two canisters that will help to push your fruit more forward in space, and then the lightest areas on the left-most lemon and pomegranate and the first canister. I think pushing those contrasts will go a long way to making the whole thing more dimensional. Great job so far, I hope you post updates  Cheesy
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edelC
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« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2015 07:09:07 AM »

sheep blue..thank you. I see exactly what you are saying I definitely missed the shadows. The photo is slightly overexposed so the highlights on the lemon are very bright, but in the painting they could definitely use brightening.

it is interesting looking at it through a camera lens. I totally missed the shadows thrown by the grapes until I did.

I plan on doing a different one every time I paint, rather than reworking that one.

It is frustrating as I know that I could do a lot better with acrylics, but I need to push myself in this direction.
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« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2015 08:06:36 AM »

I think the most helpful advice I ever got was to look at each shadow as a shape.  ( this is kind of an abstract concept) but by that I mean sometimes our brains think too logically and stop us from seeing what's really there. ( ie, Brain: that is a lemon with a shadow, I already know what that looks like so I don't need to pay close attention.) also look at the colors of the shadows.  We are preconditioned to think of shadows as gray or black, or just a darker shade of the predominant color, but often times they might seem blue or purple or brown, etc)
  By now you're thinking I'm a nut, lol, but I guess for me, my biggest challenge was always turning off my brain's "know-it-all" attitude and seeing what is really there.
  You're off to a great start by the way, a great sense of proportion.  You've chosen a difficult subject with all the reds together but that will force you to make them more dimensional so that they don't all blend together.
  Take an hour a day to work on it and study it.  I'd love to see it in a week!
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« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2015 08:15:33 AM »

Excellent point, thisbirdsabsurd! Painting from our own intuition is best...technique and experience and plain old doing it a lot, refines our styles.

I think still life painting is probably the most difficult because it can have a flat appearance. If you go with this style, learning the highlights and shadows are critical. I think you already spotted areas that could be improved, but it is still lovely!

I think the item that throws your painting off for me is the flat blue tablecloth...Your scene is more of a direct, straight angle, looking right at it, but the cloth makes it appear that you are actually looking at a slightly downward angle...so the two don't quite match...not sure if that makes sense or not...the perspectives are a bit off.  It is a minor thing, but should you repeat this scene, I would stop the cloth to right below the stem of the pomegranate.

That being said, I think you are on the path to many more paintings! It looks like they will have happy, bright colors, and I do like that blurred style...I can't wait to see more as I think each painting will only be better (if we have to put some sort of qualitative value on them --ick!)...

lol I don't pretend I could do any better, which is why I do not normally do still life...so please, be assured I am only speaking from my own training and experience
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edelC
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« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2015 08:41:52 AM »

I think the most helpful advice I ever got was to look at each shadow as a shape.  <snip> also look at the colors of the shadows. 
 
  Take an hour a day to work on it and study it.  I'd love to see it in a week!

I get it, this is good advice. I 'see' shadows as actually formless, so seeing their shape is a really interesting idea.

you have tempted me to go back and look at it again in a couple of days and see what I can do to it...
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edelC
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« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2015 08:44:18 AM »


I think the item that throws your painting off for me is the flat blue tablecloth...Your scene is more of a direct, straight angle, looking right at it, but the cloth makes it appear that you are actually looking at a slightly downward angle...so the two don't quite match...not sure if that makes sense or not...


Got it..it does make sense..I just put the tablecloth in wherever..and now I see what you mean..


thank you so much guys, those are really helpful pieces of advice...and really encouraging praise too.
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« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2015 08:45:35 AM »

sheep blue..thank you. I see exactly what you are saying I definitely missed the shadows. The photo is slightly overexposed so the highlights on the lemon are very bright, but in the painting they could definitely use brightening.

it is interesting looking at it through a camera lens. I totally missed the shadows thrown by the grapes until I did.

I plan on doing a different one every time I paint, rather than reworking that one.

It is frustrating as I know that I could do a lot better with acrylics, but I need to push myself in this direction.

Honestly, I find that painting from a picture is generally easier, although every teacher I ever had in art school always said not to do that lol.

It'll be very cool to see a series of paintings from your first to your last (or ongoing!). It'll be a great display of your progression with the medium. My hats off to you, I only dabbled with oils once in high school and generally made a giant mess of it. You're light-years ahead of me there.

I agree with what thisbird said too, about looking at shadows and light and color rather in sets of shapes. That goes for coloring too. You'll be surprised how much color you can find in shadows with the reflections of certain colors influencing the objects around it. I learned this especially when doing still lifes with transparent and shiny objects - what a pain!
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« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2015 10:14:26 AM »

The nice thing about oils is that you have time to correct anything...I prefer using a palette knife because of the wonderful textures you can get...I wish I had stuck with it more when I was younger...I really love the advice about using other colors for shadows and light...

edelC--hey, you might have sparked a resurgence to try still life and oils again!

It will be fun to see a progression in technique and a development of your own unique style...very exciting!
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« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2015 08:29:50 AM »

I think you're off to a great start Edel, it is a huge change to work with oil after using acrylics!  I think with oil painting you can do more layering which would help define your shadows and hilights.  Have you tried making a black and white copy of your reference photo with the contrasts bumped up?  I find its easier to pick out your "shapes" within the picture when you do that, which may help with your shadow placement.
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