Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Still Life: Doll

Tonight's still life is one of my wife's dolls. This is a decorative doll that sits idly on our TV (due to the fact that the dogs like to grab it and think that it's a chew toy).

Felt like doing something more realistic and complex tonight, rather than the standard coffee mug. The interesting part of working on this is the creation of the three-dimensional form. The lighting was not strong, so, to my eyes, many parts of the doll was flat. So, the problem becomes to figure out how to create the subtle shadow forms to create a three-dimensional object.

Overall, I like the drawing. It definitely looks like a doll sitting on a box. The shadow under the doll helps place it in the correct plane and the rounded shadows on the edge of the arms help define the form of the arms.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Drawing Study: Tree and Hay Bales

While working out the concept for my next painting, decided to get some more drawing time in. This latest drawing was the basis for an earlier painting (Time for a Change:!/photo.php?pid=4615901&id=139120096678).

In that painting, I worked off of a quick sketch of this area. I changed around a bit of the scene to be more to my liking. However, this time, I decided to be more true to the scene, itself.

The fun part of drawing trees is that you can't just scribble lines. For me, I first lay out the basic shapes of the tree in a mosaic pattern. From there, I sort of just "fill in" the areas with a basic tree/leaf structure. At this point, the tree looks like a lot of scribbles (The trees in the background are a good example of this mosaic pattern). Once I'm know where the edges are, I begin to play with the form and darken the areas where the edges meet. This helps give the trees volume. An important note is that, when filling in the mosaics, since I am working with pen/ink, the darkest hatching is the lightest area of the mosaic. I can't go any lighter, but I can go significantly darker.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Portrait: Pirate

Yesterday was another live portrait session that I attend on a monthly basis. We were working at the Winslow Art Studio in Cambridge, Vermont. Twice a month, various artists get together to paint for 5 hours and we share the costs of a live model. The woman who posed today had made a fantastic costume. Looked very authentic with the swords, daggers, etc. She did a great job.

As you can see, the painting on the left was done by my instructor, Karen Winslow. The one on the right was done by me. Oooohhh boy! Is there a huge difference between the two. Her's is definitely much more professional looking and a lot more realistic. Mine is too flat, the proportions are wrong, the color is wrong, etc. Not a very good job on my part.

So, what did I do wrong: Lots of stuff. However, let's look at some main areas: background, lighting, proportions, and values. Notice that I didn't say color. Color is always secondary. If the values are correct, then the painting reads realistic. Color is like icing on the cake.

Background: On Karen's painting, notice the variety of the background. The background goes from a light value in the center to a darker value on the edges. There are a variety of colors in the background that work well together (greys, greens, reds, etc). Nothing in the background is to strong to draw you eye to it. On my background, I have just one color and it is too similar to the rest of the painting. No variety to make it interesting.

Lighting: Karen defines the left side of the face in light and follows the light down the entire body. The left side is significantly lighter than the right side and portions of the darker side lose their edge into the background. The areas where the light edges meet the dark are the strongest value changes. On mine, the lighting on the left side is correct, but the value changes where the light meets the shadows are not strong enough. This gives the impression that the light is coming from the front, and not the side. In many cases, the shadow side is not dark enough (especially with the white fabric).

Proportions: Karen's are dead on. There is nothing outstanding that says that the figure is wrong. The foreshortening is done fantastically such that the person is exactly the way that you would expect them to appear. On mine, the proportions are wrong. The head is too big, the body is angled wrong, the legs are too short and at too odd of an angle.

Finally, the most important of all: Values. Karen's painting uses values correctly to show the changing of the shadow edges, the lost/found edges are well done so that your eyes are no attracted to anything other than the face. The face is incredibly well done. The value changes in the nose/eye structure leads to a realistic looking face. On mine, the values are done incorrectly.

Overall, mine is not a great effort. It's not a horrible effort (to some, it may be). To me, there are parts of it that I like. However, it's not what I intended to end up with. This is the reason for practicing.

Study what makes other paintings more successful and learn where your mistakes are.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Still Life: Protector

Finished a fun still life. This toy dragon is one of my nephew's toys and I just liked the look of him.

When first doing this painting, I realized that I painted it too light. During the daytime, the colors were too flat. Instead, I used that light massings as the base color and added dark shadows using a mix of Sepia and ultramarine deep.

I'm pretty happy with the way that this painting shaped out. I like the strong contrasted colors. I also like the composition. It lets the viewer wonder what is the dragon so angry about. Using the laying down obelisk also helps the viewer focus towards the edge of the canvas.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Drawing Study: Robot

For me, drawing is a matter of just exercising my creative muscles. There are times when I like to just not draw realist stuff. Being a science-fiction fan, it's so much fun to just let your imagination run wild and draw some sort of robot or futuristic item.

In this case, I was just doodling. However, as with other forms of study, there needs to be a practice discipline to it. So, one of the major factors that I worked on was foreshortening and making sure that the planes of the robot were facing in the right direction.

It was a good study. The robot isn't the most creative, but there is definitely a form of dimensionality to it.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Drawing Study: Willow Asleep

Tonight's practice study is of my dog, Willow. She's an eight-month old Bedlington Terrier. Every night, around 7:30, her and her brother, Fizz lay down to sleep. There's nothing like drawing from a live subject. Best part is... this is the only time that they're not actually moving and I can get a quick sketch in. For the most part, I have about 15 - 20 minutes before they change positions. It's my own portrait studio.

The drawing came out okay. It's a dog. There are parts of it that definitely resemble Willow and there are parts that don't. The massing of the shadows helps, but I think that I need to draw her larger so that the shadows can be more subtle. The hardest part of this is the hair but, it does make it a bit easier that she is semi-gray. This grayness helps me judge values better.

Her fan page can be found at:

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Finished Painting: Dichotomy

"Dichotomy" is an original 22" x 28" oil painting created on a 1" stretched, high-quality canvas. The painting is presented as unframed (Sides are painted).

The concept of this painting is to show differences between the man-made structures and the natural world. The man-made structures contain metallic, reflective surfaces with unnatural colors. The corresponding natural world contains various harmonious hues with no linear lines.

All Artwork is copyrighted to Doug Hoppes Studio and is not to be copied or reproduced in any form without the permission of the artist. Sale of this item does not transfer its copyright.

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