Tree (Ink on Silk)


Jul 25, 2011
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#1


1. in what area is critique to be sought?
Composition, Colors

2. what one hopes to achieve with the piece of work?
To imitate Chinese painting of trees.

3. under what circumstance is the picture taken? (physical conditions/emotions)
Evening, outdoors- sun was setting, and I looked up and saw amazing texture and color in the clouds. Got some trees to frame them, and kept the clouds in the negative space.

4. what the critique seeker personally thinks of the picture
I think it really feels like a Chinese painting- I've had some friends who were tricked into thinking this was really a Chinese ink painting. Maybe the center of the picture could do with more drama, though.
 

daredevil123

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Oct 25, 2005
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lil red dot
#2
I am sorry but this picture doesn't really work for me. I enjoy Chinese 毛笔画 but this is not much like one.
 

chiangkxv

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Jul 5, 2008
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#3
Looks very empty..

Not a good thing to place your subjects at the extreme corner leaving the centre with empty spaces.
 

Jul 25, 2011
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#4
Thanks for the comments! I find it very hard to take photos of clouds, since that is basically all empty space... Will keep trying harder.
 

NJMES

New Member
Jul 7, 2011
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#5
I think you need to take clouds more form + blue sky as background. This will most likely give the cloud form and definition. Just my 2 cent.

I kind of like the silhouette of the tree (more will be merrier), but the bottom stump is distracting.

i am still learning too so this is just my 2 cent.
 

Axedeee

New Member
Sep 28, 2009
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#7
Somehow the composition does not look pleasing, and the bottom trunk is too thick and straight, not pleasing to the eye.
 

tsumetiv

New Member
Jul 18, 2011
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Westsider
#8
I personally think that instead of leaving the middle empty, try cropping the picture slightly above the halfway mark, taking only the top silhouette would be a better composition :)
 

daredevil123

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lil red dot
#9
Thanks for the comments! I find it very hard to take photos of clouds, since that is basically all empty space... Will keep trying harder.
Oh, so you intended the clouds to be the subject? From your picture, the only things that stands out are the dark tree branches and leaves. Always take a step back and put yourself in the viewer's shoes. What is the first thing that stand out. If it is not your intended subject, your picture has failed.
 

Jul 25, 2011
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#10
Oh, so you intended the clouds to be the subject? From your picture, the only things that stands out are the dark tree branches and leaves. Always take a step back and put yourself in the viewer's shoes. What is the first thing that stand out. If it is not your intended subject, your picture has failed.
Yup, that was my aim. Use the clouds as the negative space to contrast against the silhouette of the dark tree branches and leaves. I wouldn't call it 'empty', but I saw it as negative space that could be a key part of the composition. But maybe I chose the wrong clouds this time around..
 

edutilos-

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Dec 28, 2010
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#12
Perhaps you could take inspiration from eikin's old picture here in the first post: http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/threads/248156-eikin-A-Photo-A-Day-2007/page4

Whole series: http://www.pbase.com/eikin/ink

Other possible references:
http://www.pbase.com/eikin/image/108785062
http://www.pbase.com/eikin/image/108785059


You can't just call it a Chinese ink painting because it's a silhouette. There are certain characteristics about ink painting, which really are not captured here (and it doesn't have to be about being in BnW) - such as stark, bold colors that stand out amidst white. And most importantly of all, the main problem (everything else is a matter of conceptualisation and post processing to realise the vision) is that the composition is severely lacking here, it's a bunch of tree branches thrown against the sky. Composition is an important, important part of both paintings and photographs.
 

Jul 25, 2011
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#14
Thanks for the comments! I'll keep working. I've seen the links edutilos sent. That is more of a modern-style tree painting. Works, but you'll almost never see plain backgrounds in Chinese painting. Even if they use plain paper, they frequently paint over it first to give it a base, and so you see some textures even in the negative space.

For example, here: http://www.chineseartpaintings.com/images/images/NMsy004A.jpg

Contrast that to the negative space, here: http://www.pbase.com/eikin/image/76005778

My aim was to draw attention to an interaction between the negative and positive space (yin and yang) in the picture. The sparse positive silhouette juxtaposes and frames the clouds in the negative space, which are 'empty' but still not devoid of texture. Speaking of texture, actually to me the best part of this photo is the leaves. It has that dense, abstract Chinese-painting quality about it.

On hindsight, I see that my composition could have been much stronger, with more emphasis on the tree, and trying to find a more heavily textured yin space to contrast with.

Again, appreciate your comments!
 

daredevil123

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lil red dot
#15
... Works, but you'll almost never see plain backgrounds in Chinese painting. Even if they use plain paper, they frequently paint over it first to give it a base, and so you see some textures even in the negative space.
I think you have a very strong misunderstanding of chinese painting... Chinese painting usually has very plain background. And most of the ones I see do not have painted background. If you see yellowish tone, it is because the paper has aged. The one pic you show is of a landscape. The artist was just trying to create the sense of depth of the landscape. Chinese painting is very zen and minimalistic in approach... which means it is the genre that usually has the most plain backgrounds compared to other genre of paintings...



 

Jul 25, 2011
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#16
I understand that it's plain. But Chinese painting interacts with the choice of background used (silk, paper), and is often not 'completely empty', and comes with its own texture and color.

Maybe it happens more with landscape painting, but I've also certainly seen painting into negative space rather than just leaving it empty. Maybe this was a more modern Chinese painting device, however, since it might involve the use of colors.

BTW, beautiful examples. The stems are strong, and lend a real skeletal structure to the images being portrayed.
 

Jul 25, 2011
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#17
PS, anyway, Chinese art/ calligraphy (I'm much more well-versed with the latter) is a complex topic spanning thousands of years that has many different branches. In calligraphy, comparing 楷书,篆书,行书 and 草书 is difficult enough, before you compare different mediums (碑 vs 贴), different types of carving on 碑 (positive words, negative background, vs vice versa), different materials used for 贴 (silk vs paper), brush size, and of course changes in thought. Compare 草书,especially 狂草, from the Tang Dynasty and the Ming Dynasty, and you get very different beasts.

Art is an interesting topic, an ultimately it's hard to take a single image on it's own. We all gotta work towards our own ideas and vision, and see them evolve in the works that we create.
 

zenix84

New Member
Jun 9, 2010
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#18
Think it will be much better to just crop the top half. Maybe you wanted to imitate the dimensions of a scroll. I was wondering if you can try shooting multiple exposures. then merging some how could possibly bring out more contrast and other details.

Just my 3 cents.

Off Topic: are you J T? You may guess who I may from my nick.
 

Jul 14, 2011
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#19
Hi,

As some of the posters above mentioned, it feels empty. Actually that is somewhat true, i feel the reason is the top and bottom branches are disconnected. Thus for a normal human mind, we get an urge to zoom back out to see the connectivity, thus causing some uncomfortableness (is there such a word? lol).

There is also no main subject for the picture, is it the sky? the top branch? the bottom branch? The sky seems to dominate but then the branches stick out grabbing the viewer's attention. Seems very distracting. Need to have more focus on either sky or tree.

Color-wise seems great, has a dark moody aura, if that is what you're aiming for.

Just my 2 cents
 

edutilos-

Senior Member
Dec 28, 2010
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#20
Sorry, merely expressing my impression of Chinese art... Not really an expert, but just highlighting a few examples that stuck in my head.

Anyways, art is art. With the assumption that what you say is true, I'd like to think that there are some lessons (particularly for composition) to be drawn from the earlier examples, even though they don't exactly represent the end outcome you have in mind.

That said, I have to disagree that you cannot take a single image on its own. There are works that are meant to be part of a series, and there are works that are meant to be a stand-alone piece.. But perhaps I misconstrue your meaning and anyways, this is not a place for philosophical discussion. Cheers. :)
 

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