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Mike Sibley

Comment posted Oct.18th, 2012, viewed 14 times

Good adjustments! They've really improved Kitty.

<< I was so intimidated I didn't think I could do it but here it is. >>
It wasn't necessarily intended to be intimidating, but it was meant to be challenging :o) If I stretched you, that's fine, and if you got half way to where you'd like to be, that's fine to. What you learned from this you'll take forward to your next drawing and, before you know it, you'll be drawing what you see in your mind, or at least be close to it. The mind id="" a strange animal - well, mine is :o) - it can see things that aren't realistically feasible (like seeing something from two angles at once) but you soon learn to accept that the drawing will never be quite the way you imagined it, but the result will still be good.

I'll tackle this from the background forwards, Gladys...

I like the treatment of the dresser, although you've relied a lot on outline. Try to use adjacent values to tell us where an edge is. A line should not be necessary. The dark extreme background is interesting but it does tend to highlight the end of the dresser top doesn't follow the angle of the side of the dresser. The curves of the side are well described but, again, they definitely do not need to be outlined. The rest of the dresser is nicely suggested without it dominating the scene, although the joints between the back boards are a little sharper and darker than they need have been. You would have created more depth if you had played them down a bit.

You've chosen to partially flatten Kitty, even after the extra work, and take a more general view of her three-dimensionality, but that's your vision and quite acceptable. Even the "hairy" lines work quite well, but do be careful to make each count. Those on her left-hand paw still look like drawn lines unlike her body that contains more shaping. The face and head are well drawn, and I'm pleased that you have modified the painted and quite unnatural triangular highlights in the eyes. The dark eyes and nose work well to draw attention to Kitty, and the patch of shade beneath her chin helps to push the lower jaw forwards and emphasise her mouth.

You've not established any cast shadows, which is a pity. You have a cast shadow on the dresser above Kitty's head, so I'd expect to see both Kitty and the lamp casting their shadows too. And those shadows would have helped to tie the two element and the setting together. Remember, this is a composite photo, so you need to work to make everything live together.

The lamp itself looks good but just fails to convey a full reality. The ellipses are fairly accurate, but the brass collar below the chimney appears to be flat. The horizon runs through that collar, so you'd expect the ellipses to be very shallow - and they are, but not as flat as you've drawn them. The lower ellipse dips down and the upper one curves upwards - only slightly, but enough to help us understand the collar is a rounded form. The collar is missing a central highlight and the recession of the punched holes is missing too (they are almost the same width from one side to the other) - all these things reinforce the impression of the collar being a flat plate and not a rounded one.

You've made a good distinction between the brass and glass surfaces except, in my opinion, for the base. I think you could have used some artistic licence and lightened it to be closer in tone to the brass above, rather than matching the tones used for the glass reservoir. But you have suggested its satin sheen so it contrasts with the shiny glass.

The shading of the reservoir works well. The sharp-edged, bright highlights are essentially what you'd expect to see, so they alone almost send the "this is glass" message. What is a little confusing is your shading and choice of grades. The viewer expects glass to be transparent, hard, shiny and, above all, smooth and reflective. Hard grades produce much smoother shading than soft ones, but your shading looks grainy. By all means use a 2B or similar to establish the darker tones, but subsequent layering with HB and 2H to complete the reservoir would have smoothed and burnished the softer 2B. The overall result would be a much smoother and more glass-like surface.

The chimney doesn't work too well for me. Again, it's grainy, and with visible vertical lines. Neither of those things tells me this is hard, shiny glass. You can quite correctly use thick outline for the sides, as we are looking through a thickness of glass at that point. The same partially applies to the crinkled top, but not as you have drawn it. Omitting the crinkled edge is perfectly OK - this is your drawing, not mine - but you've drawn a line right around the top edge. The rear half of that top circle should have been lighter than the front, as it's being viewed through coloured glass. It's not immediately obvious which half is facing us and which is behind. - often "clearly obvious" is what works best.

I think Kitty is suffering from being too light and, overall, this lacks the punch that darker tones would have produced. But you've done a very creditable job.

<< I am definitely interested in your next course and also your next workshop when you come to Toronto. >>

Give yourself some time to practice what you have learnt and then I'll be delighted to work with you again in the Intermediate course. I need to get back in touch with both interested parties in Toronto, but I think a workshop there next year is very likely. Failing that, I might return to Ottawa and run an Intermediate workshop. If you signed up to my Workshop Mailing LIst you'll be kept informed of any progress and dates.

I thoroughly enjoyed working with you, Gladys, and look forward to working with you again in the future.

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Oct.18th, 2012