Help with Art Festival Pieces: UPDATE

  • Hey everyone,

    I'm applying to an art festival and I only have a few color pieces. Most of my artwork so far has been in graphite, but I switched and started working in color in September. I only want to apply for the festival with my colored pieces because you can only show in the festival the same medium that you submit with the application. I only have 6 days to get the application in or else I'd just start new pieces...

    SO...I have a couple of pieces that I have to choose between and I need some advice:

    I'm AWFUL with environments (I'm working on it by taking the classes here, but I've just started), so I need to know two things:

    1. How can I fix the environment in image 1? Should I erase the blurry area and put more detailed foliage? Should I make the owl darker?

    2. Image 2 was just a study, but I'm thinking of adding a mouse to it, flying off the back of the owl & hanging on to some reins. But I don't know how to add a forest to the background so that it doesn't overwhelm the owl and mouse - any suggestions? Should I make blurry trees?

    Sorry this is so long, but this application is important to me. Thank you for any help!!

    IMAGE 1
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    IMAGE 2


  • @amberwingart I like the job you did on the leaves in image 1. Can you just fill that gray space with those? Or is it supposed to be a sky? if so, just google image/pintrest some cool overcast skies and use on of them as a reference for that section. I'm not saying skies are "easy" but they typically take less artistic skill than you've already greatly demonstrated on the piece so it should be pretty straight forward for you.

    As for the second piece: I like the idea of adding a mouse rider and I personally don't think you'd need to add any background. Question on the owl--this is probably due to foreshortening but isn't the lower wing a little short compared to the upper wing? If that is what the reference showed then never mind. I haven't really studied owls.

  • I was having a hard time trying to explain what I meant about the background so I found a photo of leaves, taken from about the same perspective and stuck it back there. The background looks like it's a wall right up against the owl. In the photo the leaves are mounded up, overlapping each other, getting less detailed and vanishing into the distance. If you "open up" the background then the sky, where those two would be flying, would be behind them.The mouse with the basket on the ground there is too large. If he's supposed to be on the ground, he'd be a lot smaller and mounds of leaves would overlap him. And if he's that tiny he'd be hard to see. But a group of gathering mice in the field, peeking out, would have more weight. I hope this helps in some way. I get stuck because the "camera" in my mind won't move around a scene and it's hard!


  • I really love everyone on this site - seriously the most helpful people are here. Thank you so much @mattramsey & @gimmehummus for the suggestions and the illustration - I'm actually going to take both suggestions and I'm going to keep some of it the same and some of it I'm going to change using @gimmehummus's illustration. I'm feeling a lot better about this!

  • UPDATE: Hey everyone, so I finished this piece. I wasn't able to get the pastel off enough to really follow any of the suggestions, so I just went with what I'd started. I'm not happy with it, but I learned a lot from it (mostly what NOT to do AND how important it is to plan beforehand. Will & Jake's class Creative Composition is helping me a ton and the suggestions here were really helpful).
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