Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Come flay with me, lets flay, lets flay away!

I wonder if flayed and filleted have the same root?
Here's some chickens, the problem with this picture is that the white chicken, which is the subject (I think ) is leaving the stage through the voms ( look it up, its a theater expression )

This chickens feet are standing on the rabbet of the frame at A, there needs to be enough space here to get those feet in, so he doesn't . People make this mistake with trees and the occasional figure too, At B his beak is too close to the edge of the canvas . This whole chicken would be happier if it were pulled up and to the left.

This painting could be improved by having a greater range of values. Almost the entire picture is couched in two or three values. Do you remember how in the olden days we learned to read from Dick and Jane. The teacher had to teach us about six words before we could read at all. Jane, see Dick run, spot runs fast etc. It was necessary to have that many words in order to tell the story. The story couldn't be told with just three words. A picture is like that, we need enough values to tell our story. I need to do a post on the law of consequent angles.

I also think those two pointy sky holes at 12 and 1 o'clock at the top of the picture are mechanical looking . They are too similar, and too knife like. They might be OK if they were not as assertive.

I knew the late Charles Vickery, a seascape painter, he used to tell a story about taking a painting to Aldro Hibbard who he admired, for a critique., He put his painting down in front of Aldro, and Aldro was quiet and looked at the picture for a long time. Then he got up to leave and as he turned to walk away he told Vickery, "watch out for needles!" When Vickery told me that story I scratched my head for a while, but I gradually figured out what Hibbard meant.

Those spikey shapes in the sky are needles. Beware of pointy geometric shapes that accidentally appear in a design. Ives Gammell would say that "like a fish in the wall paper, having been once perceived will no more down than Banquos ghost!" (Its evidently theatre night, besides dissection night )

This is really nice little painting.The artist sent me the image they had taken of it wet, and shot on the ground next to their easel. I think though, that it has a fault in the dark wall that goes from one side of the picture to the other without interruption. A streak of light or two might break that up nicely.The line of that wall seems to run uphill somewhat I think some broken reflections in the water below it might also help with that problem. Maybe I will attack this one in photoshop over the course of this week.

Every thing in this painting marches across the picture plane like a frieze. That is not a big problem but the painting might have been better if there was a point where something fell at a different angle rather than as another horizontal line. The ends of the gables seem a little asymmetrical I expect they need to be straightened out when you get this one back to the studio. Hard to find a lot wrong with this one though. Nice job!

This is really nice too. It must be out on the west coast. The rocks lead you very effectively to the spire which is the subject of the picture. That rocky spire in the midground there has a really nice shape. I couldn't resist the urge to trick up that water a little bit. I love painting seascape. Seascape painting has to be done out of your head, the sea won't hold still, and it can't be painted from a photo and come out very well. So you have to learn how the hydraulics work and create it.

I pretty much left everything alone except for the water. I think it is more effective with the more active water.The rocks were so worked up yet the water was sort of blank looking. I have spread linear drawing across more of the canvas. I also lit one side of the sky and then dropped its value as it ran across the canvas. That's a little trick that gives a little more interest there, and also gives a feeling of light. I expect it was a calm day and the artist may say that I wasn't true to his intentions. But I do feel its a lot more dynamic and will hold a a viewers attention longer. That's the beauty of photoshop I can do this to a painting, yet the artist still has it in its original form and undamaged. Either way that was fun to do. Is it actually better? I don't know, you decide. It would stand out better in a show or gallery.

I have also thrown a high key note, the foam of the breaking wave, next to the dark of that rocky spire. That makes a tonal climax right at the subject matter. I bring more attention to the area by doing that.

There still plenty of time left in this week to critique more art, send me images, and I will crit your paintings too.
More tomorrow of the great flaying project.


Unknown said...

I'm looking and can't see the pointy shapes in the sky you mentioned. Are you talking about the triangular shapes created by the negative space between the tree branches?

Stapleton Kearns said...

No, I mean the blue sky patches at 12 and 1 o clock I should probably edit the post to make this more clear. Will do

Jesse said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jesse said...

Wow, that seascape changed from ordinary, to one that shines! It's obvious you know how surf looks, and the rhythms it moves in.

What do you think the ethics are in revising a painting along those lines?
I know it's not accepted to show work that has any of an instructors hand in it, but this seems like it could be ok to do.

Stapleton Kearns said...

jesse: I crit those paintings deliberately ignoring who made them. I guess the seascape must have been yours. DO NOT MESS UP THAT LOVELY LITTLE PAINTING BY CHANGING IT!
If you want to work with the surf idea, pull a tracing from your little painting, transfer it onto a new canvas with saral graphite paper and make another version. That way you have your original for color notes to look at. The original version is much too nice to endanger by running your first surf painting over the top of it. I would think ethics would preclude you from using the results from this is a show, but you should show the original version. Learn from doing the copy and apply that the next time you do a seaside picture. Faking surf is a great skill to have at the seashore. Particularly in a paint off,it really upsets em.As I do it I call out to thew other artists there, Surfs Up!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the lesson o'l blue eyes.

It's amazing that most of our problems lie with design, not observation or painting technique. I for one, am finding out I need to focus more on the design than technique to balance out my paintings.

Stapleton Kearns said...

If I were standing next to you and we were together observing nature I would be talking a lot more about drawing. But I am pushing design because realism is resurgent in America there is a lot of emphasis on observation and some emphasis on art is needed as a counterbalance.
Accurate drawing is the foundation upon which all is constructed. But it is like music, the song is the thing, and that's invention,the scales and technical know how to make an instrument work are just expected to be there operating quietly, out of sight and out of mind in the background.
Most contemporary realist painting fails as design rather than representation.There are a zillion accurate but pedestrian paintings out there.
I also think I have a particular ability to teach design.

Jesse said...

Great advice Stape, thanks. A good crit is really invaluable. I took them for granted when I was in school. Out here in the world I'm in a bubble!

Unknown said...

Yes, I couldn't agree more. Before I found your blog, all I thought about was accurate observation. Your thoughts on design are helping to balance that out.

Stapleton Kearns said...


Stapleton Kearns said...

I think that a whole lot of folks get stopped and contented at accurate observation rather than putting it to artistic use. Observation is a tool, art comes from thought and decision.

Anonymous said...

ver scared picture :'(