Friday, August 23, 2013
I looked at the J Allen St John book and in particular at this painting. It's a bit hard to see it here, but in the book the printing is different - lighter I think. What I noticed is that he uses warm colors to advance and cool colors in the background, as well as higher contrast in foregrounds. Everything is built up from many brushstrokes of different colors and applied very robustly, brushstrokes plainly visible everywhere and his edge treatments are strong without being too crisp.
I also noticed he often seems to use a certain trick I've never seen before - if a limb is in shadow for instance, the center of the limb is shadowed, but both edges catch rim light. Sometimes the opposite is true, light in the center dark on beth edges. He also uses the same trick with color, for instance strong reds at the center of a limb, fading to weaker pinks or yellow at the edges, always calculated to bring out the roundness of the forms through shadow and color.
Comparing this to my Bemused (now Red Fish) I noticed my coloring is very flat in comparison, as is my use of shadow. I also feel like I put too much delicate perfectified detail everywhere (I've felt that way for a long time). So I made a copy of my painting that I could go nuts on so if I screw it up it doesn't matter, and I scrubbed in some darker shadows and some color, on a new layer that I ended up applying as Darker Color I believe - no, scratch that - I ended up switching from that to Hard Light which looked slightly better.