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Auto' - Watercolour Portrait.


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#1 Yad'

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 02:51 AM

Hi all............

I've been following the posts within this area of the board with some considerable enthusiasm. I paint for a living and have recently been commisioned to produce an auto' oriented piece for the first time so this should be interesting to see how it pans out?

Unlike Harry P' and Jarius, my work has always tended to be in the "Fine Art" style....you could say "old fashioned". But this is the stle its been commisioned in and really is more of an auto portrait than anything being a collection of vehicles that are owned by the husband of the commisionee.
The piece is to rendered in watercolour, quite demanding for engineered subjects, and usually thought to be too "soft" a medium for the same reason.
Anyway, here's the working drawing ready to make a start, it may alter slightly but the jist is all there. A simple landscape background to create an environment and the subjects loosely arranged within.......just enough to maintain a narrative element - not so much as to lose sight of the portrait status of the leading vehicles.

Posted Image

Sorry it's a bit grey and difficult to read but it has to be very light so as not to read through the watercolour....... I've tried to play with the lightness and contrast in order that it can be seen better, but this is the best I can do with my computer skills. This is why I still paint the old fashioned way with brushes etc!

All the best................. Yad'

#2 Harry P.

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 03:15 AM

I'll be looking forward to seeing your progress on this.

#3 Zoom Zoom

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 04:27 AM

I really look forward to seeing this; I enjoy the old school traditional artwork like this, as this is the kind of artwork I was schooled in as well. Digital is fine and I love artwork in general, but most people schooled today don't know how to do it the "analog" way :wink:

Your composition looks great, this will be a treat to see! Perhaps you can take some pictures of it along the way? This is a great tribute to the owner of the cars! Are they all Citroens?

#4 Yad'

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 07:02 AM

Thanks both............ I will try to post updates for those curious enough.
Although I know that most watercolour subtleties are lost through the various digital and optimisation procedures....... But, I will try - as I progress.

Hello Bob.........
It's been some time since we last spoke. In answer to your question the owner of this collection, and he has several more! has quite an eclectic taste in his cars. Which probably makes more sense when I tell you these are not trailer queens by any stretch of the imagination. Believe it or not?
He rallies these.....thats right, these work hard for their keep. In fact the Traction Avante - Light 15 [forefront] is touring the south of France as we speak.
Working back into the drawing we have an Austin Seven Tourer, a 2CV Dolly Special, and dissappearing into the distance a Morgan Plus-4. Back home he has more Citroens, VW's and crikely knows what else??

Thanks both for your interest.........

Speak again soon................ Yad'

#5 mikelo

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 07:33 AM

The drawing looks very solid. I'll be looking for updates. I want to see this one come together. Are you taking pictures of this versus scanning? Either way it does loose some of the subtlties. Thanks for sharing. :lol:

#6 JAFFA

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Posted 24 May 2007 - 03:27 AM

Just posting a reply so i can check the little "notify me when a reply is posted"-box :D looking forward to updates!

#7 Yad'

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 11:57 PM

Hello all..............

Firstly, thanks for the interest. It is a bit nerve wracking though showing in-progress shots of a piece that is so far removed from my normal subject matter, and it's as tough as I feared using watercolour as a medium for this kind of subject.
Secondly, allow me to take out a little insurance and state that these images are coming via a camera not a scanner [the paper is stretched on a board, which is way to big to fit in my little domestic scanner].
Ergo, they [the pic's] have suffered greatly in the recording and optimisation processess, plus the close up is mercilessly enlarged!!! the little red Morgan only measures about an inch on the paper.

Anyway - 'nuff said.............

Here's an overall shot to see how the composition fits within the frame....

Posted Image

And a detail close-up of the background vehicles, some details may look strange but these are particular to the vehicles represented............

Posted Image

I'm under no illusion the foreground and main vehicles are going to be a much tougher rendition to produce, but onward and upward as they say.

Cheers all................... Andi.

#8 crispy

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 05:02 AM

Wow, that's just amazing! Thanks for an in progress shot.
My wife does pencil sketches and colored pencil drawings. She too was in awe of your watercolor work. Something she'd like to get more into.
Thanks again for sharing.

#9 Harry P.

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 05:05 AM

Very nice so far!

This looks like it will be really something when you're finished! 8)

#10 Jairus

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 05:16 AM

Beautiful so far! Just beautiful.
I might have to try this with one of my illustrations too....

Just a suggestion, I realize your not done but if you put some darker shadows in the trees way back along the horizon it will make the image killer!!!

#11 Yad'

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 07:41 AM

Hi Jarius..............

Yes, you're right! The trees at the horizon are a touch soft. Believe it not though that's pretty much on purpose!

You'll perhaps notice that all the background is just shy of full contrast. This because I'm unsure of the final tonal range of the piece. The latest addition [the 2CV] is you'll notice a bit stronger in its values, this because I'm attempting to "set the tone" in the middle ground so I can work forwards into the main foreground area with a point of reference, yet still leaving myself some "wiggle room".
This so I can hopefully balance the whole thing for ariel perspective once I can see it complete - this is a natural way to work for me and especially in this instance affords me a bit of security should I fluff any of the critical passages?

This whole piece is a bit alien to me as a compostion so I'm having to sacrifice fluency for caution at the minute, I'm hoping my inbuilt "wiggle room" will allow me to cohesively balance it as a whole - nearer its time of completion?
Many thanks for the input though - I'm never too proud to have experienced eyes looking over my shoulder - it's comforting almost.

Later.................... Andi

#12 BIGTRUCK

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 11:27 AM

I couldnt draw flies with a pants full...Yad and everyone else in the ''Auto Art '' section are very talented , each one a seperate style and way to get there....and its all great stuff...

#13 Harry P.

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 02:29 PM

Actually it looks like Yad is incorporating "atmospheric perspective" into his painting.

In any outdoor scene, the further away an object is, the less distinct it will appear to the viewer's eye (less color intensity, less contrast)...because of the air (the atmosphere) between the viewer and the object.

Go outside and look towards the horizon...you'll see for yourself!

#14 Jairus

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 02:34 PM

My feeling is that dark shadows will cause a background to recede. Not black but mixing a touch of black with the green will yield darker shadows. Of course Yad is the artist here..... :)
(And what an artist)

#15 Harry P.

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 04:11 PM

My feeling is that dark shadows will cause a background to recede. Not black but mixing a touch of black with the green will yield darker shadows. Of course Yad is the artist here..... :)
(And what an artist)


Don't mean to pick a fight here, Jairus, but in reality, the further away objects are to the viewer, the LIGHTER (and less distinct/contrasty) they become. In order to achieve the illusion of depth, objects that are supposed to be far away should be rendered progressively lighter and fainter as they recede into the background, not darker/more contrasty.

Like I said...if you have an available view, look to the horizon. The far distant objects (trees, mountains, buildings, whatever) will appear lighter and less contrasty the further away from you they are.

An example: look at any photo of a mountainscape. The hills furthest away from the viewer will appear much lighter and fainter that those closer in. The impurities in the air cause this effect. The further away an object is from the viewer, the more airborne "stuff" between that object and your eyes...causing that far away object to appear lighter and fainter than those objects closer to you. The only place you wouldn't have this effect is in an airless environment...like the moon, for instance.

(Sorry to "lecture"...but I didn't pay thousands of dollars for that college education for nothin"!) :wink:

#16 Harry P.

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 04:15 PM

Here's a perfect example. Note how much more indistinct (lighter, less contrasty) the hills off in the distance are compared to the foreground features.

Posted Image

#17 Yad'

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Posted 28 May 2007 - 02:27 AM

Hi guys.............

Thanks for your continued interest. May I say that your opinions and thoughts are very welcome. I'm always interested in the input of others, especially those of obvious experience and skill. You both have far greater knowledge and experience of incorporating automotive subjects within a composition than myself, so just keeping an eye on me and keeping me on the straight and narrow will be of great benifit to the final piece.

This said............ you are both correct in your observations.
The composition is one of an automotive portrait - as in, the Cars take precedence, however it has to be rendered in a narrative style [figuratism], so I'm oblidged to present the final piece as a "Formal Painting".

Therefore, Jarius you were correct to spot the lack of tone within the background, and Harry you were also correct anticipating this as a device to illustrate Ariel perspective [Atmospheric perspective as you described it].
The first rule of Ariel perspective is in fact Contrast - Background=Low Contrast, Foreground=High Contrast. Any point in between must fall between your set/polar values but can be manipulated in order to push or pull elements of the composition within its environment [Landscape in this instance].
For instance, within this painting - and for greatest effect. I want most of the contrast to sit within the distance occupied by the two foremost vehicles, and then to recede quite quickly to the horizon, thus maintaining the vehicles as the predominant passage [Focus of:] within the painting.

The damning thing is that watercolour is pretty much a "one shot" medium, if you have to constantly work into a passage in order to correct or manipulate it, it very quickly loses it's natural fluency and clarity, thereby ruining the very reason for choosing it in the first place!!!
So, I've left a little room in the background for more contrast [darker values] should I need it. And I've set the tone in the middleground using the 2CV as a point of reference as I begin to work forwards.

Did all that sound too "Arty" or complex?? Sorry if it did, just trying illuminate what it is I'm attempting to do here, also quite enjoying this exchange of "Art Speak". Not something I'm used to doing that often, and with such exalted company too.


I'll continue to update the posts, assuming everything continues to go reasonably well? And hopefully the mechanics of the construction process should reveal themselves as a readable image. If I understand the rules correctly and I get them right that is?

Speak again soon.................. Andi

#18 Zoom Zoom

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Posted 28 May 2007 - 03:00 AM

Wow, I'm really liking how the composition is coming together! I'd be in the same position doing the painting as it's a medium that I haven't worked in years. I totally understand the "arty" dilemma about the foreground vs. background and why the trees in the distance aren't rendered w/as much contrast now. I think they look fine as-is, and when the rest of the subjects are painted is when one stands back and determines where, if any, extra work can be done to punch up an area. At this point in a watercolor it's perfect. Get too much contrast back there and you can't go back. It's a one-time-only shot with watercolors.

Thanks so much for showing the progress, it's fascinating to see it come together 8)

#19 Harry P.

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Posted 28 May 2007 - 04:22 AM

The damning thing is that watercolour is pretty much a "one shot" medium, if you have to constantly work into a passage in order to correct or manipulate it, it very quickly loses it's natural fluency...


And that's what makes watercolor so tricky to pull off successfully...but yours is looking terrific! 8)

#20 Harry P.

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Posted 28 May 2007 - 01:36 PM

BTW, Andi...and Jairus, Bob and anyone else following this thread...

I'm enjoying the exchange of "art speak" as well! It doesn't get much better than cars and art mixed together! 8)

Andi, seeing your work in progress, I'm motivated to post some of my own "traditional" art...stuff I did before Photoshop became my medium of choice. :wink: