Winter cozy - personal piece WIP - critique please



  • It has been a long time since I have the time and mental space to do a personal piece. So happy to start a new personal piece. I am working on a piece for picturehook competition again.
    https://www.picturehooks.org.uk/winter-comforts-a-picture-hooks-competition/

    This time the subject is: Winter Comforts–Family

    Untitled_Artwork 12.jpg

    Here is the first presentable thumbnail (the rest of my thumbnails are not readable, more like the ugly doodle to the left of my readable thumbnail), still super rough. I use to do a lot of walks in the city with my partner, and we often go for a coffee this way (we do have a kid nowadays, but never had a dog. So this is not our family portrait 🙂

    Any thoughts? I thought maybe I should push for a more unique concept, but maybe it is also nice to paint a simple snowy scene and focus on exploring techniques instead.


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    @xin-li I like seeing you working on a new personal piece! And while concept is important, here the theme seems to cry out for just what you're wanting to do. I can imagine this finished in your style!

    The only thing I might add is that at present, all the action seems to be on two planes, almost like a diorama. I don't mind that, because the foreground silhouette is strong and the trees are a nice framing device, but maybe I'd at least play with some elements that either project from the cityscape into the park, or something in the foreground of the park. In other words, if you go with the silhouette look, do something that says, "I meant to do that!"

    I agree that sometimes the tiny first sketches (the literal thumbnails) are so vague that it can even be hard to judge their potential!

    I look forward to seeing the rest of the process!



  • @LauraA thank you so much for your feedback. I might do a few more thumbnails before starting the painting process 🙂



  • trying a different concept. I think I like the concept better. I need to work out the value. Any thoughts?
    Untitled_Artwork 5.jpg



  • @xin-li I think they're both really lovely. The only thought I have about this new one is that he looks a bit like he is bringing in a tray from outside.

    I may like the first one better because it has this idea of comfort in the open instead of in warmth, but I think both of them would do really well in the contest. Have you decided which one to do yet?



  • @xin-li I love the two in the tent. Cute. And the perspective you've chosen of the scene is nice. Just wondering are they inside or outside?



  • @carolinebautista the intention was Dad brings a tray from the kitchen. I am considering doing the 2rd one, as I do not have a lot of pieces indoor in my portfolio at this moment. hehe...

    @KaraDaniel The idea is the whole family is playing pretending camping trip in the living room. They arrange house plants and toys to make "forests". The round carpet is a "fishing pond". I am not completely happy with what Dad is doing story wise. But could not think of anything better at this moment.

    It looks I am running out of time to finish this piece today for the contest. But I will probably get a chance to finish it for my portfolio. Really need to add new works to my portfolio now before the SCBWI winter conference. I signed up for the portfolio show :-).



  • I love this. Maybe the dad could be interacting with the kid who is fishing.....pulling the fish away from him as he tries to hook onto them - secretly from the other side of the room or obviously engaging with him.



  • Love this @xin-li!



  • Great concepts! The second does seem cozier.

    One thing I do question: while the perspective is more unique, does it lend itself to the story?

    An overhead perspective might make the viewer feel like they're literally looking down on the scene. It could feel more removed and might take away from the emotion of the scene.

    What if you chose a perspective where the viewer feels like they're right with the family? Perhaps zooming in, lowering the camera angle, etc. The same applies to the dad in the scene. Is there a way you can make him part of the action? Same idea with the kid facing away from the group -- could he be involved in the same activity with everyone else? That will help underscore the theme of an entire family enjoying a cozy moment.

    Looking forward to seeing how you solve your composition woes. Please share your progress with us!



  • @Melissa-Bailey-0 It is a great question regarding to the camera angle. This time I did not have a very deliberate thought on the camera angle. It came out for to by itself. I will rethink it know 🙂

    I like the idea of there are serval activities involved, as I want to communicate they are doing this for a while, and each found their own favourite thing and settled in (as one does on a camping trip). But I am not so happy with what the dad is doing at this moment, I think I will change him to grill marshmallows over a fire that is made with a pile of mega lego or something.

    Thank you for chip in your thoughts. I might need to find other ways to lead viewer´s eyes from one character to another.



  • Hi @xin-li, did you submit? I believe the deadline was yesterday...



  • @Jeremy-Ross No I did not. My kid was home from the kindergarten this week, I had to cut down work hours. But I am going to finish this piece for my portfolio. I hope to get it done before the SCBWI winter conference :-). I think my portfolio could really benefit to have a piece with more than 2 characters in it. I will take @Melissa-Bailey-0´s suggestion, and work a bit more on the rough sketches before going to the final painting.



  • Some progress finally. Still struggle with the drawing part.
    I am wondering:

    1. is the perspective believable? Anything does not look right?
    2. is the concept clear enough?
    3. Does the composition works?

    I did not change camera angle much, somehow when I lowered camera angle for this image, it does not appeal to me visually. I flipped the image as I want to make the kid reading with mom the focal point of the piece, and I want to viewers to start looking at the image from the focal point, then move towards right.
    camping home.jpg



  • @xin-li really liking where you’re taking this piece! Is it hitting the feeling you’re aiming for?

    Just wanted to mention one thing: you’ve got good movement and the mom & kid reading are the focal point, but as the eye moves around the composition, there is a snag when it comes to the kid “fishing” on the rug. It’s such a cute scene, but how it’s posed, the fishing rod and her legs are leading the eye right off the page. Is there a way to rearrange the pose so the lines lead the eye back to your focal point?

    Really exciting to see the scene coming together!



  • @xin-li aw I love this. My kids use to play camping in their room just like this...love that the dad is participating. Very heartwarming scene I can realate to.



  • @Melissa-Bailey-0 I have been struggled with this pose, hehe. Maybe I will let the kid caught a fish, looking towards the mom and kid, and shouting happily. :-).
    Thank you so much for your input :-).

    @KaraDaniel Very much inspired by lat week having my kid home from kindergarten. My 3 years old discovered our camping sleeping bag last week, which became her daily ritual - hiding in the sleeping bag under the tent in our living room.



  • Some progress in this piece. It took me sometime to do one pass of this piece, as there are so many little elements all over the place. I might add back some of the woodland mini toys here and there later.

    I was not planning to, but suddenly I found myself doing the Draw 25 something excise :-).

    Is the perspective too wonky? I am not entirely sure if the perspective around dad and the room behind is completely off.
    camping home02.jpg


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    @xin-li I like this piece more every time you redo it! Inasmuch as the perspective looks off, it's probably because the room isn't at a 90 degree angle and there's also a slightly closed door. It does seem that the tent is from a lower angle than the door area and windowsill, and is perhaps exacerbated by how far the doors beyond are place "up" in the drawing. but I think that it looks better now than in the previous version. Are you going for realistic perspective?

    I like the addition of cats in the fishing game!



  • @LauraA I am not really aiming for a realistic perspective, but I do not want to viewers feel something is wrong either. I think I need to work out the door and window a bit more, using the tent as the base in terms of perspective. This piece takes a lot of time for me simply because it has more elements and a bit more complex than the pieces I usually paint. hehe... this is a very fun and challenging excise.


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