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Scotty's Arting Thread - Updated



  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion Pronouns: He, Him, HisRegistered User regular
    Dawwwwww <3

    Dat puppy.

  • ScottyScotty Registered User regular
    Thanks Enc!
    Here he is all done, next to a painting of the same dog that I did a couple years ago. Hooray for improving!


  • JABMonkeyJABMonkey Cincinnati, OHRegistered User regular
    I really enjoy your work. Thank you for sharing it!

  • ScottyScotty Registered User regular
    Thank YOU for the kind words. :)

  • ScottyScotty Registered User regular
    acrylics on 6x6" canvas
    My latest pet commission. Angel passed away just over a year ago, and her family wanted a small painting done of her. Always an honour.

  • ScottyScotty Registered User regular
    edited June 2015
    acrylics on 12x16" canvas
    My latest painting, I love painting the doggies!

    Some of my messy process. :)

    Scotty on
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    You may hate this, but I think it looks way better without the bright green background. I understand wanting to have a contasting color back there to help things pop, but think the ones you have going on right now are too over saturated. Its kinda like you are adding a grade school photo backdrop.

    I suggest looking into a more subtle effect. I would look to portrait artists for inspiration.

  • ScottyScotty Registered User regular
    I don't hate that, I'm always open for crits and opinions. Personal preferences factor into everything, and ultimately I have to do what the client wants. I appreciate the feedback, and I'll look around like you said. Anything to improve my work, or at least add variation. My main thing when painting the pets is to get the pets likeness nailed, I leave backgrounds up to what the client says usually. (I can always suggest alternatives to them right?) :)

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    Yeah. And I mean clients often dont know what they want until they see it. If you do a few with a way better background, you'll be able and point to it and say "you want this, not that"

  • ScottyScotty Registered User regular
    If you have any examples of what you mean background-wise, feel free to share. Can always use the examples, as I'm self-taught all the way. :)

  • Angel_of_BaconAngel_of_Bacon Moderator mod
    @Scotty To expand on Iruka's point- in the process pictures, you're initially working with a brown-centered palette, which works to create a natural color harmony. Every color is tied to each other in some way, and this is pleasing to the eye- although this may be an unintentional side effect to the process used, this is also a deliberate technique called toning (see: Toning the palette of the picture is a good way to achieve color harmonies, and for establishing a baseline that can be contrasted against for effect. (For example in that link, the red of the lips stands out much more on the 'green' picture than the 'red' picture).

    So when overcoated with a straight green that isn't reflected anywhere else in the picture, and isn't toned down to fit the browner overall palette, the color seems very out of place.

    Now, I can appreciate that a client may want a 'bright green background', but that doesn't mean the best solution is to simply pick a bright green out of the tube and lay it on. When you are painting, all these things are relative- what makes a bright spot seem bright is not the absolute value of that spot, but how much brighter than it is than its surroundings. What makes something look green is not simply the absolute color of that thing, but how much greener it is compared to its surroundings.

    Very quickie paintover:

    Here I've tried to manipulate the palette a touch to harmonize the colors a bit, while working to retain the focal point where I want it. Broadly, I toned the painting back with a dull yellowish tone, which you can see in the white of the fur. I did this partially for color harmony, and partially to lower the value a bit in the whites, as to reserve the whitest whites for where I want the eye to go- in this case, the eye highlights. I also punched up the saturation and color variation in the iris for the same reason. For the background, I toned it back significantly, making it far less saturated than the colors in the eyes, to prevent it from jumping forward and being distracting. In general, people's eyes will be initially attracted to the areas of greatest contrast- whether that be the greatest variation in color, saturation, value, or the hardest edge- while areas that have less contrast will be 'pushed back, visually'. All of these little manipulations are to get the viewer lost in those big brown eyes, rather than the background or somewhere else.

    In order to get the idea of 'brightness' into the background, rather than making everything bright, I invented an idea of trees casting shadows onto some grass- this way, in addition to just placing the picture in a more naturalistic scenario, it also affords me an opportunity to set up contrasts. Namely, I can lower the saturation and value in the shadows, which makes the lighter, brighter areas seem that much lighter and brighter- even though the absolute value and saturation of the lit areas are actually neither all that bright nor that saturated. (If I were going to spend more time on this I might push things a bit further, but the principle stands) It may be counter intuitive at first that making things to appear brighter necessarily involves making a lot of other things darker- but like I said, it's all relative, and it's all about manipulating color relationships to get the proper effect.

    To tie the dog into the new, more naturalistic scenario, I also kicked in some of that green into the underside of the dog, indicating the color of the grass being reflected up into those areas. Makes sense from a raw physics of light perspective, and from an artistic color harmony perspective.

    Now, the point of this isn't really to say this is how this picture should be painted, it's more to just illustrate some principles and how they could be applied- really, these ideas could be applied in any number of different ways with equal or greater success. (Another good post about the same subject:

    On a side note, I assume you are working from photos provided from your clients? If so, this may be a tough working scenario because your average, non-professional artist/photographer isn't going to shoot their photos with things like light/dark shadow breakup in mind, which can make grasping the form of the subject difficult when translated to paint. Consequently, you may have noticed I basically roughly invented a directional light source on my paintover to get a better idea of the form. Ideally, you would be able to shoot your own ref and arrange lights yourself- but you may find that you may benefit from deviating from the ref by inventing a light source yourself. You can make it up in paint (as I did), or you can do some homework and mock out a very rough blob model in clay, and shine a flashlight at it to get an idea of what the subject would look like under various lighting conditions, and use that for ref. Just a thought.

  • ScottyScotty Registered User regular
    Hey, thanks for taking the time Bacon, I really appreciate that.
    Ultimately, your side note is where I start, so yeah....

    "On a side note, I assume you are working from photos provided from your clients? If so, this may be a tough working scenario because your average, non-professional artist/photographer isn't going to shoot their photos with things like light/dark shadow breakup in mind, which can make grasping the form of the subject difficult when translated to paint."

    It's true, I'm happy if they send one big enough that I can crop, and that is actually clear enough to show proper detail. Can't blame them, most people just think a photo is a photo right? (most have a crazy direct flash too, in that case I have them send other photos until I see one that works better) I try my best. They want it to look just like the photo, or as close as possible, but sometimes it doesn't jive artistically. I can see how colour choices really do factor in when it comes to placing my subject into a background, without having the background overtake the subject too much, thanks for showing an example. (and the links) :+1:
    I'll think a bit more about what I want to do background-wise before I start next time, and see what I can do. Definitely tough, but I think even just implementing a bit of what you're saying will help. It's all about growing, learning and improving...while making the client happy.

    Thanks again for the input!

  • tynictynic PICNIC BADASS Registered User, ClubPA regular
    One trick I find can help with a not-great photo-reference is to bring it into PS and adjust the light and colour on overlay layers.

    If someone tells me they want something exactly like a photo I always think "why don't you just blow up the damn photo, then". Maybe talk to them a bit about it first? try to get them to explore why they want a painting, and open them up to the idea that this is a new piece of art, not a digital reproduction.

  • Angel_of_BaconAngel_of_Bacon Moderator mod
    You might find it to your benefit, if you can spare the time, to do some pieces that are not for directly clients using the best process you can, so you have something tangible to show clients what the difference will be between simply giving them what they ask for ("copy this photo") versus what they can get if you're given freedom to manipulate the reference as needed to improve the final work. Just saying, "Hey, I'd like to change some things" is, of course, going to freak a client out if they have no way of knowing what you mean by that. If you can actually demonstrate the benefits, talk them through what you did and why, you're more likely to sell a client on your changes.

    Ultimately, like Tynic said, you sell yourself short if you set yourself as being seen as a human Xerox machine. You're an artist- meaning you've put time and effort into knowing more, having a better grasp of what makes good art than the average person. Clients come to you because you are the expert in this scenario- if you just have a one-way conversation with them without convincing them that you are the expert here, that you can't improve upon some iPhone snapshots, your body of work will suffer and ultimately your future clients won't trust you to provide a better vision either, having never demonstrated it. You'll be left hoping and praying that one day someone will come in with a good ref by happenstance, so you can get some more impressive work into your portfolio- which is something that may never happen, left to chance.

    If I go to a doctor or a mechanic, I come with the understanding that, while I may say what I think is wrong, they know a lot more than I do in their area of expertise- and it would be very worrisome if they didn't ever demonstrate that they knew more about their field than I did. As an average idiot in those fields, I want them to show me that they know a lot more than I do, thus giving me reason to trust their judgement.
    It is not bad client relations to not take everything they initially say at face value, to sell them on your own vision of the work, to convince them that you can provide better results than they can imagine, if given the freedom to do so. It is a negotiation, for the creation of a bespoke piece of art, crafted by an expert in the field- it is not someone ordering a double cheeseburger down at McDonald's. You're the professional in this relationship- if your client doesn't understand what that means, the obligation is on you to make that clear.

    For the sake of your artistic career, yes, you must satisfy your client... but at the same time, you have to consider that every piece you do is the marketing that will get you your next client, your next commission- so unless your current clients are paying you in the millions, the pieces have to work for you, as well.

  • ScottyScotty Registered User regular
    That's a lot of words...haha. Thanks guys, seriously. You're confirming things I've been thinking, and also giving advice that I can chuck into the pile in my head and take from. Sometimes it's great to have different minds and eyes join in, in fact it's mandatory I think. I've grown and still have growing to do, we all do, and I intend to continue forward and never stop. Again, thank you! Onward! :)

  • ScottyScotty Registered User regular
    Hey all, been a while, but here's a few new paintings from my commissions I've done. (as usual...pets...haha) :biggrin:

    acrylics on 6x6" canvas

    acrylics on 6x6" canvas

    acrylics on 6x6" canvas

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