Here??™s one of my last paintings.
It was for me an important project and I spent a lot of time by analysing the background, specific to the home base of those these F100 Super Sabre of the French Air Force. I use maps, photos and so on.
Unfortunately, apart few aficionados, this painting do not receive a great success when it comes out and has never been into print. No queries were made to get a print though.
What??™s wrong in it ? I??™ve few ideas that I??™ll keep for me for few days, just wondering if you??™ll come to this too.
I??™m almost ready to re-work the subject.
Vincent who’s ready to take the heat !
What really matters, is that it was a stepping stone to bigger and better works, therefore you yourself have improved by (perhaps subconsiously) knowing where you could improve and applying those lessons.
FWIW, the horizon will appear level unless you are very high, and both land and sky should lighten towards the horizon, which you can achieve even now with glaze.
The upper surfaces (wings – fuselage) will reflect light from above and maybe even assume a little blue hue.
It is a “nice” picture, but there can be no doubt that your Etendard is a lot more professional.
For me, as I have alluded to before, somebody needs to strive to create paintings worthy of the Louvre, especially for future generations. Take a good photo of your work to the Louvre and decide what the works there have that yours does not. My learning curve at this time is to add the “opposite” colour [from a colour wheel] into my paint and experiment with results that I have not seen before. I was once debriefed by Charles T that a Red Arrows Gnat did not have enough green in it!….I think that I am getting to know what he meant, yet at the time, it made no sense at all.
Yeah, I figured you did the horizon intentionally, but in my opinion it doesn’t work with such a small angle, and also the main aircraft banking the other way. Would have worked better I think with the front aircraft banking away.
Shame the americans forgot how to design beautiful planes, these f-100s are so cool.
To get a bit ‘deep’, I think that every aircraft has a heart, or at least something special that makes it interesting. For example, the wing on a Spitfire or the smooth curves on a Hawker Hunter.
This special thing may be difficult to detect, but if you capture it can stir the memories of those that used these machines day in day out.
IMHO the heart of the F100 is the burnt rear fuselage rather than the obvious open mouthed front. The ‘damage’ to the rear fuselage that every F100 has is an open invitation to experiment with colour until you capture its beauty. Perhaps worth mentioning that rusty old steam engines and traction engines appeal for similar reasons.
In summary, if I was painting an F100, it would be viewed from the rear quarter, which is a) unusual and b) captures its character (perhaps a better description than all of the above). The only time I would completely contradict myself, would be a shiny polished aluminium USAF bird on the ground with lots of relective colours to take hold off.
Good point Chas for the rear part view interest… but in this case, the Shark Mouse was indeed the main interest. The only sharkmoused F100s !!
Here’s one of the original pencil sketch of the project… both “center of interest’ were covered… should I’ve done something like that…
Hi Vincent. I know some of this has already been said, so please excuse me for being a bit repetitive. Anyway, here are my suggestions:
1. The small degree of horizon tilt that you have here looks more like a mistake than a planned design element. If you are going to tilt the horizon then it must be obvious that you did it on purpose. In other words, tilt it more.
2. The ground needs a little less saturation.
3. By far, my biggest critiscism is that the position of your lead F-100 in relation to the horizon doesn’t work. Your aircraft’s centerline and your horizon are not only parallel, but they are almost one in the same. What you have done, in effect, is visually skewered your aircraft – an F-100 shish-ke-bob, so to speak. A couple of things to remember are that if your aircraft is going to ovelap the horizon then it’s main axis should be at an angle different to the horizon. Also, the majority of your aircraft should either be above or below the horizon, but NEVER split down the middle (in this case I would have placed it slightly above).
4.To a smaller degree, the little spit of land does the same thing to the airplane’s wing.
5. The long strip of beach on the right runs almost straight into the bottom right corner and visually it just drops out of the painting. Try to avoid long lines that lead your eye straight to the corner.
I hope you don’t my my playing around with your image a little, but Charles Thompson did this for me once and I found it very helpful in visualizing what he was suggesting to me…
I hope that helps, Vincent. I look forward to seeing your next piece.
That’s a very interesting “outside view” of the painting.
I do better understand what happens now.
– I was far more too much focalised on the landscape accuracy. The details were worked a lot and thus leading me to those basic errors.
As an example, the beach to the bottom right corner looks like it is in reality… but who cares ? the composition error is there anyway.
And the pilots of the F100 (Adj Real Weber) didn’t mention anytime that he was happy with ther landscape…
moreover, I worked from pictures taken from a pilot of MIRAGE 2000 for the colors. I should have put aside the “color to color” matching by thinking a bit more : the camera have probably a polarizing filter… thus again leading to the too much contrasted landscape.
– the sheesh kebad is the worth point that -never- show up to me until Russ post… that’s a VERY GOOD lesson to me.
Anyway, thanx a lot for your feedback, thanx Wade to have initialised this section who proves itself to be a valuable tool. By the way, Wade, if you can spent few minutes to add your comments…
All the best
I agree with the land ‘issues’ raised by the very capable observations above. As you saw with my early P-51 piece, I am a certified expert in “land issues”, along with many other “problems” in art!
Strong horizontals tend to ‘stop’ the eye as it tries to move up and through the composition. One solution to the land ‘problem’ alone may be to ‘gradate’ the values of the land mass tones somewhat. This means that the farther back you go, the lighter you get in value as well as less saturation of the colors. Gradation is a very effective “old master” compositional technique which also leads the viewer nicely into the work from the bottom, a common ‘entry’ point for the eye as it follows the basic ‘armature’ holding the piece together. This will also tone down the horizontal ‘lines of force’ a bit.
Also, if some tone, color, or shape “distraction” has no purpose and does nothing to help the composition, then leave it out, period. One small example of what I mean here are those dark values along the beach way back there at our upper left. If your jets aren’t overflying the general area where the Exxon Valdeez cracked up, then I’d overpaint the dark values in this area.
I do like your airport access road at the bottom, but I’d shift it (or bend it a little), to keep it from being positioned roughly in the center of the canvas. This may even require a re-thinking of the exact angle (and/or altitude) you are viewing the airport and landscape below. More to the left the road will very nicely and effectively invite the viewer into the composition.
The lower left is a ‘safe’ place to have your viewer enter the work. Problem is, your road is overpowered by all the other “important” land details and visually ‘ends’ almost directly under the main F-100, both almost dead center on the canvas. What, in the eye of the viewer, makes the ‘extraneous’ details more important than you’d like them to be, and, as a result, competing with your main focus/center of interest for attention? Contrast, saturation, detail and values similar to those to be found in the center of interest. All attractive/distracting to the eye. Your darkest darks, lightest lights, greatest detail and most contrasting tones (readily apparent to even the casual observer) MUST be reserved only for the center of interest and nowhere else. Secondary points of interest (the wingman in our present example) get slightly less overall “strength” when it comes to tones. The entire land mass in this composition should be WAY back in the pecking order. You are the artist – you have the power to control ‘reality’ as it’s shown in your work. Even the uneducated gallery visitor will be able to tell the center of interest in your work if you tell them visually – or they will have no idea and will soon move on down the line of paintings. Take control and arrest their attention on your work!
Ron Wong’s work is a great example of how to treat background details … detailed and contrasty just ‘enough’ to support the main subjects.
One last thing on the land: squint your eyes and see if you can see what I do. The land mass is effectively half dark in value (on the left) and half lighter (to the right), divided right down the middle. Again, if you ‘gradate’ from dark to light, do it from front to rear to give the illusion of depth, not side to side. The viewer, despite your very effective road line pointing the way, is confused as to where to go – or where to start.
The sky: a bit too much ‘blue’ in the mix as seen on my monitor. To mix a sky blue, start with yellow and red, then add blue (and white) until you get a nice subtle light value bluish-gray. God paints everything in nature with his full palette, albeit with the “colors of light”; why can’t we attempt the same thing in pigment, our only resource? Every dab of paint on your canvas should have a bit of each of the three primaries in there. One way is to introduce a little of the local color’s complement; in this case, orange. Hmm, red and yellow make . . . Your work can’t help but look more “natural” as a result.
The jet: First thing *I* would do is crank the jet over to his right to roughly parallel the angle of bank of the wingman. The two jets’ wing lines will then set up a powerful balance to the existing strong lines pointing to the canvas’ right. The existing main jet’s wing “line” roughly parallelling the land mass, horizon and runway points the eye very strongly off to our right.
In composition, there are “rules”, but few “laws”. What you are basically looking for are distractions to the center of interest and things that will lead the viewer’s eye off the canvas unnecessarily.
Respectfully submitted, and yes, easy to say but hard to put into practice. Vincent, you obviously know how to handle a paint brush, now keep educating yourself on some of the ‘basics’ and I have every confidence that the sky is the limit for you (and a properly harmonious blue sky at that!). 8)
Wade Meyers Studios
It’s time now to come back to you and to let you know what’s in my mind in the subject.
I wonder if it would be wise to rework the background while keeping the two aircraft layout intact.
I mean, I’m pleased by the F100 showing his brand new teeth appied on the weathered camo. So, by just re-working the background (and the sky) I may save one important painting for me.
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