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WWII Poppy Painting need serious critique, be harsh please!

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WWII Poppy Painting need serious critique, be harsh please!

Postby jessicakay » Thu Jun 19, 2008 9:27 pm

This is the first painting I've done since art college, it's been 4 years since I painted! I picked up right where I left off stuck between abstract and obsessed with color and line/definition. I'm working on it for a festival entry and I'm just not feeling it. You know that feeling you get when you are just something isn't right. I like the looseness of some areas, but I always tighten up on faces and then it just sticks out like a sore thumb. I feel there are holes and it just doesn't flow. Please be harsh I don't mind seriously! I like to do abstract-y (is that even a word) paintings that have flow but feeling to them.

I feel like it's in that phase where if I do one thing I could totally screw it up and have to really re-work it. Which could be a good thing because the most successful ones always feel like that.

Please let me know what you think.
j_strohecker1.gif (154.96 KiB)
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Postby abbyjonesart » Fri Jun 20, 2008 10:05 am

First of all
avo for getting back on the horse... it takes guts. This piece is some of the best composition I've seen in a long time. Love the contrast between the colorful poppies and the warrior. I see your point about the distinction of face, however, I think that the figure is obscured and anonymous enough. I would just work on the far left of the piece. It lacks the cohesiveness of the rest of the piece.

Love this work, unfortunately I don't have that much to criticise... you have an eye for subject matter and this piece sends emotions of hope, sadness, life, death, etc. Beautiful juxtapostions.

Wow. Peace,

"It is on account of emptiness that all things are at all possible."
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Postby nigelartist » Fri Jun 20, 2008 10:31 am

Love it!

I think you have captured the harshness and cruelty of war superbly.

The poppies remind me of bullet wounds!



Postby Michael Ortega » Fri Jun 20, 2008 11:37 am

I like it. It is what it is....

But, since I am a veteran myself, I would like to see the ubiquitous t-shirt that all GI's are required to wear. And of course dog tags...

but your painting stands on it's own merits and does not require my vision...

but i would like to see that stuff in all your future work depicting GI's

What I lack in talent I more than make up for with enthusiasm!
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Postby Ted » Fri Jun 20, 2008 4:19 pm

Wonderful composition just keep adding detail, with the dirrection of a 3/4 U starting on the right side. that will keep your eyes moving. dirty it up a bit also a slight grunge look would work well.
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Postby DLKeur » Fri Jun 20, 2008 4:49 pm

I agree with Ted. Also, deepen the intensity of the color so there's more contrast between the darks and the
ights to add dramatic tension in viewing. You want the viewer's eyes to rivet on one thing first, then travel where you want next and next after that. Just my take. Add lots of "ignore" to anything I say.
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Postby johnwalkeasy » Fri Jun 20, 2008 6:43 pm

The OG colors and the look of an M-1 weapon. The figures in the background. Tells me this is of WW2. The work tells of death and hopelessness. Which is the end factor of all wars. The issue is I think for you. Is will this kind of work sell. Weather it is of war or some other unhappy thing. My answer is no. As far as the work itseft is. I like the look of sorrow on the faces. and the misty figures in the backgrond. The one thing I think could be done wihout is the red flowers or whatever they might be. They are all over the painting and seen to take away from the rest of the work.
Perfection is what drives an artist.
The inability to achieve perfection is what creates a work of art.
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Postby krysta11 » Fri Jun 20, 2008 11:16 pm

Looking at your incredible work I started to sing
" Red poppies on Monte Cassino
Instead of dew-drops were drinking Polish blood
soldiers were stepping on them and disappear
because an anger was stronger then death!
Years will pass, centuries will pass,
Only traces of old days will stay
and only poppies on Monte Cassino will be more red
because of the rise on Polish blood."
I translated this Polish song best I could.
With tears in my eyes I am telling you ,
It is great piece of art!!
Art must be an ORDER from Heaven
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Postby jimdlemons » Sun Jun 22, 2008 1:52 am

I like the look and Ted was right a bit of darkening on the right side of all the figures with more detail on the front guy maybe, but again it has to look right to your eyes. Somber though, well stated.
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Postby Danny Heim » Sun Jun 22, 2008 8:54 am

Well I chose your piece to do my first critique. I'm new at this, so I hope I am dong this right?? Oh yea, nice piece. Like it, nothing bad to say about it, sorry.
Danny Heim

Postby Erika Takacs » Sun Jun 22, 2008 9:28 am

The face has anonymity as stated, and som
iety, I don't know what makes you unhappy about it. Are those supposed to be bullet holes? They look like poppies to me too. If they're bullet holes, finish what you started on a few of them on the left side. Smudge or drip the blood. I do like the far left top side as it is. I agree, some contrast would be nice.
Whatever you decide to do with it, it's a strong work.
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Postby BAReam » Sun Jun 22, 2008 10:53 am

Erika Takacs wrote: Are those supposed to be bullet holes? They look like poppies to me too. If they're bullet holes, finish what you started on a few of them on the left side..

My take is that the values and colors are fine. Ericka's question regarding "bullet holes" is a good one. My opinion is that if they are indeed bullet holes they should be used only in the areas of background figures. Dispersing them confuses the content.

all the best... BAReam
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Actually flowers

Postby jessicakay » Sun Jun 22, 2008 11:16 am

I always paint on patterned fa
ic, I chose fa
ic that has poppies on it because of the meaning of the Red Poppy and veterans of past wars. The entire fa
ic is floral. Usually what I do is allow some fa
ic pattern to poke through and go back and paint into it. So I pull the poppies out by painting them. I know that many may see them as bullet holes but in person you can see they are flowers up close. I want them to feel like they are I guess "falling" or "shadows of remem
ance". I use fa
ic patterns to base my paintings for many reason, but the main one is I am really bad at incorporating backgrounds in all my figurative work, having this type of fa
ic forces me to make one. It has really helped me.

I am still deciding what to do with the main figure, I have been thinking of reworking him and going more abstract with his face, drippy, etc. I just feel like I have two styles going on with the painting. It's like my old way and new way are fighting and neither are winning out. I love the drippy abstract feel, but then I get caught up in color and obsess with faces. I'm worried about going and ruining that face though and screwing up the whole thing. I hate when a painting is at that point where if you do one thing it's going to make or
eak the whole thing.

What do you think? Should I go abstract with that main figure or go back and maybe put some more detailed figures around him, to match the main? I really like the drippy figure on the left bottom it just feels right, but in comparison to the other it sticks out.

I do want to say thanks to all those who have commented, it's meant a lot to get a review of it. I have really lost my confidence as a painter since I haven't painted in a while and just don't feel as strong as I did in college. You know, when you are surrounded by people telling you as you go how to work things out. It's hard sitting in my studio space in my basement not having one of my old professors go, "put down the
ushes or your going to regret your next move jess." They always helped me stop. I'm glad I found this place to help me. So thank you everyone! :)
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Postby Erika Takacs » Mon Jun 23, 2008 9:03 pm

I don't see the abstract figures clashing with the main more realistic figure, nobody else mentioned it either, if I remember right. Why worries you? If it still bugs you, paint an abstract one, then make your choice.
Did you strech the fa
ic like a canvas then? It sounds ingenious to me. I'm also background-challenged. :)
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Postby Nicoletta » Sun Jun 29, 2008 12:14 am

I think this is awesome.. the poppies working as the symbology of life.. yet the bullets holes of death... I would give him a dog tag and call it "DONE".. beautiful...
ings much emotion.. and that to me is ART...
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