Friday, November 14, 2008

Saved by the Sketch

I snapped this photo a few weekends ago, thinking that it might be a nice reference for a painting.

Tonight I'm gathering things together for WC class tomorrow, and thought I might bring this one along to work on. So, I did a rough little watercolor and pen & ink sketch to map it out. I really didn't want the branches in the foreground, and wanted to leave out the tent and the signs.

Well -- this is a prime example of why preliminary or value sketches can be important -- especially if you're messing around with your references!
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See. It just doesn't really work. There's something there that still has possibility, but I have to fiddle with it lots more. I knew that leaving out the banners might be a composition issue (for some reason that I can't put my finger on -- composition is my weak point, and I have the hardest time explaining WHY I feel like something does or does not work.) -- but I didn't DREAM that leaving out the branches in the foreground would make that roof look so ... so ... big. Huge. And I even tried to kind of squish it and make it smaller than is in the photo. It still takes up a fourth of the page! What the heck was I thinking? And the background - well I'm thinking it should almost be blank. I had thought that the dark bit on the right would balance out the gigantic roof, but I was wrong. And I didn't preserve a nice white sunlit pattern on the figures and the umbrellas on the deck, so they look like they're sitting in under an overcast sky and it is rather depressing. Still -- the figures and umbrellas... there has to be something that can be done one day with this.

What do you guys think?

Maybe something like this... But still with something more interesting on the roof and deck railing.

Meanwhile, I'm pretty sure that I have decided on something else entirely different to work on tomorrow. And since I took a pretty good reference photo to begin with for IT, there shouldn't be quite the problems that there are with this one.

P.S. Here's a little reminder -- I used a dip pen over the watercolor, but the went back into a couple of places with a little more color. THAT'S when I discovered that I hadn't used waterproof ink. Hence the ugly black blob at the end of the deck...

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Teri C said...

Why don't you leave the whole roof intact with the porch and umbrella as is but close in on the right. Oh geez, did that even make sense?

But I know you will figure it out!

steviewren said...

I like reading through your process, but I have no idea how to fix it either. The second picture is better. Maybe adding a small sign on the railings would add a touch more interest. Good luck. Maybe letting the problem roll around in your mind will bring a solution to the surface.

Diahn said...

I think that Teri is on the right track - here's my take on the original...

The roof angles, the deck railing and the leaning umbrella all lead my eye out of the painting on the right hand side. In the photograph, the branches kind of grab your eye and lead it back into the building and all of its interesting angles and activity.

I think you need to add in something on the right hand side to function like the tree does and push your eye back into the focal point of the painting.

That being said, I think you definitely need to add the white highlights in there, and I really do like the minimalist background, although maybe a really grayed out version of your original background would be more effective?

Or, I could just be full of it.


Jim said...

I clicked on the image and it came up on my screen to large to see the whole thing, then I moved the image to the bottom of my screen, the scooted it all the way to the right and I think I might have found what your are looking for...cropped it.