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No you're wrong here. This looks exactly the same as the model I was using.

This is the same issue as the key painting you posted in my thread. Part of an artists job is to not just paint exactly what they see. I don't doubt that the angle presented is exactly what you saw. However, if the resulting image looks like a deformed hand, like this one or melting keys as before...the artist needs to adjust for that. I can't say I can always do this (yet) but it is a concept that is visually verifiable when creating your composition.

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Here's another drawing I did for fun: That's it for now. I'll update it later with some more works.

I'm in the mood to share this drawing I created. 8''X11'' Graphite, the drawing was done from imagination.  I named it 'Dancing through Fire'.    (I post a lot of artwork and studies on my Art page

Hi, Been such a long time since I've posted here. Stumbled upon a post from this forum tonight and decided to check my old thread.  I've recently finished a few paintings. I'll post a couple

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So you try to insult me and hurt my feelings to teach me a lesson not to be harsh on other people (because I told a modern artist that her paintings are not art). At the same time you do not care to distort your artistic judgement and dump on someone else's actual achievement. It's a pathetic motive and requires dishonesty to execute. I violated the virtue of niceness, and now I will get my retribution from you, right? it won't work with me.

Still it is evident you worked hard to notice every detail that could possibly be wrong, which actually does provide me a value, which is why I'll answer your points.

I don't know what you're talking about. I didn't participate in that other thread, I wasn't aware of your petty argument, and I only read through it after you pointed it out to me.

I didn't work hard to find the flaws I mentioned. They were glaringly obvious. In fact, I was being charitable in not really listing everything I thought was wrong about your painting. What I did was I weighed how much of my time I wanted to spend helping you (that's what any honest criticism does) with my own busy day and schedule. I could have given you a much more in depth review but I chose to focus on the essentials.

The fact that you took my critique so badly means that I wasted my time even trying. You don't have enough self-esteem to be an artist.

It's pretty clear where you're coming from too, with not a single good thing to say about a painting which is obviously great. But I'll ignore that (because I don't respect it) and address your points which you noticeably have thought through.

If you posted this here to have your ego stroked, you've sorely misjudged your audience. Your painting is not obviously great. It is a beginner's piece and nothing more.

The reason I didn't mention any of the positive qualities in your painting is because you presented it here, not as an exercise or an experiment in technique, but as a real work of art. I take art very seriously and will not oblige having its value cheapened by calling an exercise a mature piece of art, worthy of its own contemplation.

In the other thread you directed me to you said:

This questions is "be nice to me I'll be nice to you". The answer is no. I seek nothing but justice from other people. If I created something mediocre I would acknowledge that it is, not present it as some form of ideal art, and not expect others to do it too.

That's exactly what I did. I didn't attack your painting with any rancor or mean spiritidness -- I gave you a bullet point assesment of objective flaws.

Here is the truth: you didn't create something mediocre. Saying that something is mediocre requires an average execution and technique. You don't have that yet, so you either created a bad work of art or it's an exercise. If it's an exercise, then it either accomplished what it was supposed to or it didn't. Only you can answer that.

This is just obviously an attempt to (I'm sorry to use this word here) dump some more. Such things should be done privately, not in public.

Why should I reserve my criticism of your painting for private? You posted your work in a public venue, therefore all criticism of it should be public.

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I don't know what you're talking about. I didn't participate in that other thread, I wasn't aware of your petty argument, and I only read through it after you pointed it out to me.

You are lying, and that is evident from the reason you state for originally not stating a single good thing about it:

The reason I didn't mention any of the positive qualities in your painting is because you presented it here, not as an exercise or an experiment in technique, but as a real work of art.

you obviously have read the thread before posting your criticism.

I didn't work hard to find the flaws I mentioned. They were glaringly obvious. In fact, I was being charitable in not really listing everything I thought was wrong about your painting.

Too bad, I actually found your criticism (exaggerated as it was) useful. some of the things you mentioned bothered me as well, but you gave me the words to specify what it was.

I don't usually like people offering technical advice, but yours was actually (again, even though highly exaggerated) useful.

Now, I suggest you take care of your angry emotions someplace else, and if in the future you have a realistic, objective criticism to offer, I'd love to get it because you have a good eye.

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You are lying, and that is evident from the reason you state for originally not stating a single good thing about it: you obviously have read the thread before posting your criticism.

I'm not lying.

Maybe you don't understand irony. Or sarcasm. Or subtlety. I was clearly quoting back to you the same objection you raised in the other thread. Why would I do that? To show that the criticism you leveled at "MissLemon" was just as applicable to you.

I didn't read the thread you accused me of reading before my first response here. I read it afterward, said as much in my second response, and remain utterly bewildered how you managed to get cause and effect reversed -- especially using my own post as evidence.

The fact is, you dismissed my original criticism because you blindly assumed that anyone critiquing your painting was doing it out of spite, based on what you said in another thread. The fact is that I wasn't, you had no evidence to assume I was, and after I disabused you of your false notions you persisted in insulting me. You were completely off base.

Too bad, I actually found your criticism (exaggerated as it was) useful. some of the things you mentioned bothered me as well, but you gave me the words to specify what it was.

I don't usually like people offering technical advice, but yours was actually (again, even though highly exaggerated) useful.

Now, I suggest you take care of your angry emotions someplace else, and if in the future you have a realistic, objective criticism to offer, I'd love to get it because you have a good eye.

Angry emotions? That's rich.

You've called my motives pathetic, my criticism dishonest and exaggerated, and myself a liar. Now you want me to spend more of my time going over how to improve your painting?

You've got another thing coming.

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I'm not lying.

Maybe you don't understand irony. Or sarcasm. Or subtlety. I was clearly quoting back to you the same objection you raised in the other thread. Why would I do that? To show that the criticism you leveled at "MissLemon" was just as applicable to you.

That shows nothing, except your ability to copy/paste. The fact is just because both can be criticised, the same criticism does not apply.

The only reason why you would tie the two threads together is to bring this one down to the level of the other one, to try and punish Ifat over what you perceive as her mean words to MissLemon. You're being unfair toward her, and dismissing clear evidence of some hard work she has done to improve her art, because she was "mean" to MissLemon in another thread. Maybe you should, instead, explain why she's wrong, in the other thread, first, then start demonstrating what it feels like to be wronged by your critics.

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If you posted this here to have your ego stroked, you've sorely misjudged your audience. Your painting is not obviously great. It is a beginner's piece and nothing more.

Just to clarify, when I said it was "great", I didn't mean in the sense that it was on the level of a great accomplished artist. I meant it was great in comparison to what she had been doing. She's clearly improving. I especially notice the way she has done the skin and contours of the body. The shading is excellent. The proportions of the body are excellent in most areas, just that there are mistakes around the arm and neck area -- the neck is too long. I do like the lips, nose and chin area.

This is one of the most difficult things in painting, getting the proportions right before you put the details in, because if you don't get those right first, then you'll get tons of detail in only to discover later that the detail isn't where you want it, and all of your work will have to be redone. That makes the art much more labor intensive. The detail could be brilliant, but it will be all for not if it doesn't fit into the whole properly. In my experience the face is the hardest part to get right, because small errors in proportion are really noticeable.

Really, Ifat, I think that's been your biggest weakness all along, getting proportions right. You've definitely improved in this area, but it might be a good idea to focus heavily on this until you perfect it. Doing lots light sketches with pencil should help you there. Don't make it labor intensive, just do what's essential to learn.

While the scene choice is not original in this case, that's not vital when you are learning how to paint. Although, Ifat has some very original scenes as I remember it from a couple of years ago. That's one of her strengths, I think, being able to choose interesting and original scenes.

I do agree with every one of your points in your critique of her painting. You did a good job with that, but in justice I think it's important to also notice the positive, because she deserves credit for that.

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For what it's worth, I agree with your assessment Thales. I really enjoy Ifat's work, but I certainly don't have a trained eye when it comes to reviewing art. I also thought that Myself provided some very worthwhile suggestions and constructive criticism. That's how his/her comments should have been taken. I saw no malice there.

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I didn't read the thread you accused me of reading before my first response here. I read it afterward, said as much in my second response, and remain utterly bewildered how you managed to get cause and effect reversed -- especially using my own post as evidence.

I don't see a need to argue about this. I believe the truth will be clear here to every person whose opinion I care about.

Jake Ellison gave you a correct reply, and I appreciate you doing so, Jake, because you are interested in justice enough to be willing to write down what you have.

The fact is, you dismissed my original criticism because you blindly assumed that anyone critiquing your painting was doing it out of spite

I did not dismiss your criticism. I used the parts that pointed out correct technical problems. The rest of it - the judgement of artistic content, along with the exaggeration in every single point did go to the trash. The fact that you would want to call MissLemon's creations "art" shows me how little I need to value your artistic (not technical) judgement.

Thales: Almost everything on my website was created without a model, it's a different thing having to know proportions and anatomy (let alone without prior training in anatomy) from memory and to paint using a model.

My goal is to paint realistically (and of course creatively) from imagination, and so I'm actually doing exactly what you suggested: Making many real-life sketches, also reading anatomy for artist's books, doing a lot of observation (like noticing the amount and arrangement of bones and muscles).

For what it's worth, I agree with your assessment Thales. I really enjoy Ifat's work, but I certainly don't have a trained eye when it comes to reviewing art. I also thought that Myself provided some very worthwhile suggestions and constructive criticism.

First of all, thanks. But constructive criticism also presents the positive points about something (of course, when they exist). Criticism that ignores everything good and only points out the bad is not objective nor constructive.

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Thales: Almost everything on my website was created without a model, it's a different thing having to know proportions and anatomy (let alone without prior training in anatomy) from memory and to paint using a model.

My goal is to paint realistically (and of course creatively) from imagination, and so I'm actually doing exactly what you suggested: Making many real-life sketches, also reading anatomy for artist's books, doing a lot of observation (like noticing the amount and arrangement of bones and muscles).

For what it's worth, for what you're doing -- drawing figures from your imagination and placing them into an environment -- I would recommend any of the books by the late illustrator, Andrew Loomis. His books are out of print, and the used ones generally sale for high prices, but you can find them in libraries. (There were plans to reprint his book, Creative Illustration, about a year ago -- Amazon even announced it and offered pre-orders, but for some reason it fell though, unfortunately.)

He has several books:

Figure Drawing For All It's Worth

Creative Illustration

Successful Drawing

Drawing The Head And Hands

The Eye Of The Painter

Fun With A Pencil

[Edited for spelling.]

Edited by Trebor
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Sounds great. I'll definitely look into it.

I think you'll be happily impressed with Mr. Loomis. His work is beautiful and he's an inspiring and benevolent teacher, very generous and capable.

Years ago, I read the transcript of an interview that Hugh Downs did with Frank Lloyd Wright. At one point in the interview, Mr. Downs asked Mr. Wright which of his projects (or buildings) was his favorite. Mr. Wright's wonderful reply was, "The next one!"

Best wishes with the next one.

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Thales: Almost everything on my website was created without a model, it's a different thing having to know proportions and anatomy (let alone without prior training in anatomy) from memory and to paint using a model.

My goal is to paint realistically (and of course creatively) from imagination, and so I'm actually doing exactly what you suggested: Making many real-life sketches, also reading anatomy for artist's books, doing a lot of observation (like noticing the amount and arrangement of bones and muscles).

You've given yourself a difficult task, Ifat. One idea is to do your drawing from a model when you don't remember the details. Iows, use models as a bridge to being able to do it completely from imagination. Eventually you may be able to do it all from imagination.

Btw, why is it necessary to be able to do everything from imagination? Is that really a useful goal, or is it an obstacle to your advance?

Anyway, I enjoy seeing your progress. What took me about your art when I first saw it were the imaginative and colorful scenes. That’s what I loved.

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I don't see a need to argue about this. I believe the truth will be clear here to every person whose opinion I care about.

Jake Ellison gave you a correct reply, and I appreciate you doing so, Jake, because you are interested in justice enough to be willing to write down what you have.

I did not dismiss your criticism. I used the parts that pointed out correct technical problems. The rest of it - the judgement of artistic content, along with the exaggeration in every single point did go to the trash. The fact that you would want to call MissLemon's creations "art" shows me how little I need to value your artistic (not technical) judgement.

I have to agree with Myself. What MissLemon did was art. It was the selective recreation of reality according to her metaphysical value judgments. Now, it wasn't good art, if her intent was to paint the flowers as they were or the paint tubes as they were, but it was art. I did like a lot about her last work. But she is a complete beginner, and so I think it's important to wait until she can paint what she wants to paint to make a full evaluation of her work.

If she were presenting herself as an accomplished artist, then I’d be harsh on her work.

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you obviously have read the thread before posting your criticism.

This behavior is absolutely unacceptable. What evidence do you even have that Myself was *participating* in the other thread? None. He hasn't even *posted* in that thread. It is generally wise to check a poster's screen name before flying off half-cocked.

Here are some guidelines for offering art criticism courtesy of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, which I am attending. I have to offer critiques on a regular basis to brand-new learning artists, and if I can manage to be polite then you can too.

Any further evidence of this outrageous rudeness will result in you being prohibited from posting art to this forum or criticizing anyone else's artwork.

  1. What is a critique?

    A critique is defined as input on the quality and end result of a creative assignment and is related to the student's performance. Critiques are provided by the student's professor and peers in the classroom. Aspects of the critique should include: craftsmanship, style, message, purpose, design, functionality, etc. A successful critique should include areas of success, as well as areas of improvement, and should suggest methods for achieving such improvement. Effective critiques are based on demonstrated knowledge of the course competencies, not just personal opinion.
  2. Purpose of a critique:

    A good critique will allow students to see what others see in their assignment. The student receiving the critique will be able to determine if the purpose of the assignment was successfully achieved. Using professional language, students will develop the ability to articulate and defend opinions about each other’s work.
  3. How to conduct an effective critique:

    Use the "sandwiching" approach when conducting a critique, summarized as follows:
    • Provide positive feedback.
      • Find something positive to say about the work.
      • Define specific aspects of the work you are critiquing.
      • Be more analytical and less of a cheerleader. Don't just say “I loved it!” or "good job!"

[*]Provide constructive suggestions for improvements.

  • Address the technical and aesthetic aspects related to the assignment; what works and what doesn't work. Cite sources (lecture notes, course textbooks, and additional research) whenever appropriate.
  • Place your comments in the first person, such as, “I think this area could use . . .” rather than, “You should change this because . . .”
  • If you are having trouble figuring out what language to use, refer back to the readings and lecture notes to support your critique.

[*]Close the critique by pointing out something positive again and note improvements in progress over time.

  • Use encouraging words, such as, "This was successful because . . ." or "You achieved a composition that clearly fulfills what the problem was about."
  • If someone is clearly struggling in the class, be mindful of his/her confidence and be extra careful with your suggestions.
  • Throughout this course, you will see lots of improvement in your own work and your fellow students’ work. Be sure to let each other know.

[*]Other things to remember:

  • Trust your instincts and eyes when communicating your ideas—you probably know more than you think you do.
  • The better you can verbalize what you think about other students’ work, the better you will be able to correct your own.
  • Use the vocabulary and concepts you are learning in class.
  • Always be respectful, courteous, and supportive.

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For what it's worth, for what you're doing -- drawing figures from your imagination and placing them into an environment -- I would recommend any of the books by the late illustrator, Andrew Loomis. His books are out of print, and the used ones generally sale for high prices, but you can find them in libraries. (There were plans to reprint his book, Creative Illustration, about a year ago -- Amazon even announced it and offered pre-orders, but for some reason it fell though, unfortunately.)

He has several books:

Figure Drawing For All It's Worth

Creative Illustration

Successful Drawing

Drawing The Head And Hands

The Eye Of The Painter

Fun With A Pencil

[Edited for spelling.]

I don't know if it's available still, but atleast there used to be a webiste giving out some of his material for free(and legally, I think). Could be worth practicing some google-fu to see if it's still available.

Either way, Andrew Loomis books are worth their weight in gold. They are not praised nearly as much as they deserve, probably because most people today come across them on some p2p service, browse through the books briefly and toss them aside without understanding the valuable insights he offers. Though I think Ifat already understands alot of the material I think what Loomis can offer is a thorough understanding and a good way of learning and improving different techniques.

Another guy that has some great stuff is Glenn Vilppu: http://www.vilppustudio.com/. I'm not that familiar with his material but a while ago I saw a video where he taught figure drawing from simple geometric forms(like in combining spheres, cubes and cylinders to draw figures), and that was among the best material i've seen regarding figure drawing.

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I don't know if it's available still, but atleast there used to be a webiste giving out some of his material for free(and legally, I think). Could be worth practicing some google-fu to see if it's still available.

Either way, Andrew Loomis books are worth their weight in gold. They are not praised nearly as much as they deserve, probably because most people today come across them on some p2p service, browse through the books briefly and toss them aside without understanding the valuable insights he offers. Though I think Ifat already understands alot of the material I think what Loomis can offer is a thorough understanding and a good way of learning and improving different techniques.

Another guy that has some great stuff is Glenn Vilppu: http://www.vilppustudio.com/. I'm not that familiar with his material but a while ago I saw a video where he taught figure drawing from simple geometric forms(like in combining spheres, cubes and cylinders to draw figures), and that was among the best material i've seen regarding figure drawing.

I'm aware that there have been (and still are) PDF versions of Loomis' books available online. I'm not sure of the legality however, and I'm not certain how to verify one way or the other. It is certainly a shame that the books are not currently in publication; it seems that there's sufficient demand for them.

As I said, Amazon had announced, about a year ago, that they were going to be selling a new printing of Creative Illustration, but it fell though. I don't know for sure why, but there was a rumor, certainly not confirmed, that his wife still holds the copyrights, and for some reason she decided not to have the book re-published. I simply do not know what actually happened. (But, if that book was almost reprinted, then perhaps soon it, and his others, will actually be reprinted and sold new once more.)

I certainly agree, his books are worth their weight in gold, and you can find them at such prices if they are in exceptional condition. Well, perhaps not quite their weight in gold, but not cheap. However, you can find them for less on eBay.

Too, I have found copies over the years at used book stores, and, to my surprise, for really low prices.

Edited by Trebor
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I could be mistaken but I think some of his books were realeased in a project to "save Andrew Loomis". I know there used to be website like that, but it's down(and since I don't know about the legality I won't post any links to other resources). It's really a shame that they're out of print.

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This behavior is absolutely unacceptable. What evidence do you even have that Myself was *participating* in the other thread?

I didn't say he was participating. I can only repeat what I already said to answer what I think you're asking: He replied that he did not say a single good thing about my painting because I "posted it as art and not as an exercise" - those are the exact words I used in that thread. This, very straight forwardly, implies that his first post took its form because of the other thread. The fact that his response was sarcastic detract nothing from its being an actual answer describing his reason.

Furthermore the fact that he did not have a single good thing to say - that his criticism was only negative also points to the goal (or motive) he explained to me.

_____________________

Edit: Addition after more thought: He is obviously against (let's call it) "harsh" criticism - everything he says in regard to my criticism in the other thread points to that. Is it normal then, for someone who has such an opinion of negative review to all of a sudden give someone else a purely negative criticism saying, essentially, that the criticized object is worthless?

No, it is psychologicaly impossible, give or take a split personality. Without some additional, special condition such criticism would not be possible for someone who has such high objections to very negative, unconstructive criticisms.

Now, I know what you'll be saying (figure of speech). You're going to say that I am psychologizing, that I have no way of knowing what's on his mind. Psychological analysis is not automatically psychologizing. Rational, logical psychological analysis is possible and legitimate.

[That by itself is a loaded subject (I can already see the replies outraged that someone can claim to know what another person's motives are) so I prefer to restrict it to this post, or move it to another thread if anyone wishes to discuss it].

Edited by ifatart
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You've given yourself a difficult task, Ifat. One idea is to do your drawing from a model when you don't remember the details. Iows, use models as a bridge to being able to do it completely from imagination. Eventually you may be able to do it all from imagination.

Btw, why is it necessary to be able to do everything from imagination? Is that really a useful goal, or is it an obstacle to your advance?

It's not just an ability I want to develop to impress myself :) for me it is an absolute necessity. The reason for that is that a central theme of my art is expression of character through body language - body pose and facial expression. It is only possible to do it spontaneously and fully creatively if you draw it using subconscious content that easily "flows" to you. If I had to stop at every moment and think of the bone structure or look at a model it would mess up the expression of the image/ idea/ feeling I have in mind.

It is only by automatizing anatomy that I can fully express my inspiration (like I have in the older paintings) and at the same time do it realistically.

I have to agree with Myself. What MissLemon did was art.

I gave a detailed, thorough explanation why I think it is not on post #66 on that thread. If you want to discuss that, you can reply to that post. In fact, it would be better to start it in a new thread. It is also important to rememeber that a definition is not the full picture of a concept. Just because someone creates something according to his metaphysical value judgement still does not make it art. For example, a dance composed of random jerky movements like a jungle ape expresses the artist's M.V.J. (too long to retype), but it is still not art.

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Alfa, Trebor: I'm reading a great book called "Figure drawing without a model" by Ron Tinner. I highly recommend it. It is full of insights and great tips for a training artist. He really takes a rational approach in analyzing everything - it's great.

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I didn't say he was participating. I can only repeat what I already said to answer what I think you're asking: He replied that he did not say a single good thing about my painting because I "posted it as art and not as an exercise" - those are the exact words I used in that thread. This, very straight forwardly, implies that his first post took its form because of the other thread.

No. Myself acknowledges reading the other thread after you made it known to him. His first post mentions nothing of the other thread, only critiques of your new drawing. His second post was written with knowledge of the other thread.

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No. Myself acknowledges reading the other thread after you made it known to him. His first post mentions nothing of the other thread, only critiques of your new drawing. His second post was written with knowledge of the other thread.

I noticed that point, too.

BTW - I like your Procol Harum quote...just listened to Grand Hotel the other day...

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It's not just an ability I want to develop to impress myself :) for me it is an absolute necessity. The reason for that is that a central theme of my art is expression of character through body language - body pose and facial expression. It is only possible to do it spontaneously and fully creatively if you draw it using subconscious content that easily "flows" to you. If I had to stop at every moment and think of the bone structure or look at a model it would mess up the expression of the image/ idea/ feeling I have in mind.

It is only by automatizing anatomy that I can fully express my inspiration (like I have in the older paintings) and at the same time do it realistically.

Do you also find that drawing or painting models or photo references don't give you the same pleasure? I have found that when practicing and drawing from photos it's not at all the same thing as creating something from my own imagination. It's like using someone elses vision. It can certainly be valuable in terms of developing skill, but the whole reason why i'm doing it is to be able to project my own vision onto a paper, canvas or computer screen. Even though it's certainly possible to add your own touches when working from references it's not the same thing.

I havent yet been able to have that "flow" when drawing or painting, but i'm getting there when sculpting in 3d. When I get there it's a different kind of "connection" to the subject, like seeing your idea take form(with your vision already a few steps ahead), and actually in a sense feeling the shapes and forms. Though it may be a good idea from time to time to stop, step back, and review the work I think it's very important for an artist to have that connection between the mind and the chosen medium. Without that all the theory in the world wont help you(it may even have a negative effect as that can have a person obsess about details and draw what they know, instead of what they see).

Alfa, Trebor: I'm reading a great book called "Figure drawing without a model" by Ron Tinner. I highly recommend it. It is full of insights and great tips for a training artist. He really takes a rational approach in analyzing everything - it's great.

Cool, I'll have to check that one out!

Btw, a little more on-topic... I found your last painting to be really lovely(oh, and I also found the portait of that woman to be really well drawn and she looks beautiful). I know you've said that you havent improved, but from what you have posted here that last painting is clearly the best so far.

Though I think the criticisms may be valid I personally, well... don't give much of a damn. The important thing is if it works and if I like, and I think it works(meaning, I buy the "illusion" and there are no apparently disturbing flaws) and I do like it. Also i'm not sure I agree with the criticism about the proportions. Yes, the neck is long, but hey... some people have long necks. It would be more interesting to know why; is it deliberately made that way?

I don't think anatomy should be drawn to follow some rules of generic proportions. The understanding of such things are only important for artists so that it can be used as tools. Other than that it's a question of what the artist wants to express. For example, an elongated neck can help to express femininity(and depending on the context - pride, strength, youth...). In this case I think it looks strong but feminine.

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No. Myself acknowledges reading the other thread after you made it known to him. His first post mentions nothing of the other thread, only critiques of your new drawing. His second post was written with knowledge of the other thread.

I don't know how to make it simpler: He explained why in his first post he did not mention a single good thing. I don't see the point continuing this further, there is nothing I can add. So I'm done with this particular topic.

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Do you also find that drawing or painting models or photo references don't give you the same pleasure? I have found that when practicing and drawing from photos it's not at all the same thing as creating something from my own imagination. It's like using someone elses vision. It can certainly be valuable in terms of developing skill, but the whole reason why i'm doing it is to be able to project my own vision onto a paper, canvas or computer screen. Even though it's certainly possible to add your own touches when working from references it's not the same thing.

Yes, I completely agree. The pleasure is incomparable. There is a way though to use references creatively (few options I noticed): One is if you start with an idea, draw a sketch, and then create or look for a reference to help improve the execution. An artist I admire, Boris Vallejo, uses this method, and his work is great and very creative. I think a reference can help reduce the complexity, like skin tones, light patters (especially if there are multiple light sources). Though I don't think it can ever be as fun as painting purely from imagination (and possibly not as artistically good for what I want to do).

The second - (works for me with faces) - is to use the reference mainly for patters of light and shade, but still inventing my own facial features, and change the expression as I like (though it can't change too much else the reference becomes useless).

I havent yet been able to have that "flow" when drawing or painting, but i'm getting there when sculpting in 3d. When I get there it's a different kind of "connection" to the subject, like seeing your idea take form(with your vision already a few steps ahead), and actually in a sense feeling the shapes and forms.

Yes, that's exactly how I feel too. When painting from imagination it's like the rest of the world disappears. Not so when you're putting a lot of focus into the technical part.

Though it may be a good idea from time to time to stop, step back, and review the work I think it's very important for an artist to have that connection between the mind and the chosen medium. Without that all the theory in the world wont help you(it may even have a negative effect as that can have a person obsess about details and draw what they know, instead of what they see).

Yeah, I agree. I found a solution for that. Basically, I have two sets of training: One in which I focus on anatomy, and the other when I tell myself to forget all about it and draw from imagination (using automatized knowledge in anatomy I have acquired). I train myself to have a "flowing creativity" - by that I mean that there are no psychological blocks stopping my ability to express myself. It is very easy to fall into such a trap, like you said, by focusing only on the technical part. An artist that ends up with nothing but technical ability is finished.

Then I also do sketches from imagination but purely for anatomy (without artistic content). Then I can compare what I did to reality and see what needs further work. I can notice, for example, that I was unsure how to do the armpit in a certain angle, and then invest in that.

Btw, a little more on-topic... I found your last painting to be really lovely(oh, and I also found the portait of that woman to be really well drawn and she looks beautiful). I know you've said that you havent improved, but from what you have posted here that last painting is clearly the best so far.

Well, here is the thing. If I wanted to draw from models a few years ago when I was doing the rest of my work - I could have done pretty close to what I do now in drawing. I know this because I tried it once, though I never put it on my website, and I'm not even sure where it is anymore. I have improved in skin tones - I don't think I could have done as well in the past. I have some improvement in anatomy too, since I started paying so much attention to it. And it helps to draw realistically. I don't think you can draw very realistically without knowing anatomy (or at least noticing it while drawing) - a surprising discovery to me. It is very hard to get things right without keeping in mind the 3D form and the direction of the light.

Though I think the criticisms may be valid I personally, well... don't give much of a damn. The important thing is if it works and if I like, and I think it works(meaning, I buy the "illusion" and there are no apparently disturbing flaws) and I do like it. Also i'm not sure I agree with the criticism about the proportions. Yes, the neck is long, but hey... some people have long necks. It would be more interesting to know why; is it deliberately made that way?

Her neck appears long because her head is tilted back and the angle of the viewer is somewhat below her head, so you can see more of the neck than you would for a different position. Then again, it is a bit too long even for that position. I think the reasons for that are: 1. Her left side of the head is not portrayed well enough - I didn't give it enough angle and so it changes the way you perceive the position of the head. (I fixed that already, actually). 2. I continues the line of the neck below the shoulder line a bit too much. It's only a bit but it makes a big difference. (Fixed that too meanwhile).

I don't think anatomy should be drawn to follow some rules of generic proportions. The understanding of such things are only important for artists so that it can be used as tools. Other than that it's a question of what the artist wants to express. For example, an elongated neck can help to express femininity(and depending on the context - pride, strength, youth...). In this case I think it looks strong but feminine.

I agree, drawing is not life-recording. Changing certain features to something not normally seen has an artistic value. For example: a woman with extraordinarily thin waists - very feminine. Imagine how much less appealing wonderwoman would be if you gave her the usual waist thickness.

As for my painting - I actually think Myself was right about the neck - it is (a bit) too thick - it bothered me too at some point but I forgot about it. I'm going to change that too.

I really enjoyed this discussion. It's very fun to see another artist feeling about art like I do and having the same thoughts.

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