There are details there that you cannot see in any

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There are details there that you cannot see in any

From Tom Baker

Published before 2005


Those scans are amazing! There are details there that you cannot see in any book illustration, because the latter are too small and the half-toning method is too rough by comparison to digital imaging. I downloaded all the Bouguereau ones for starters, and I've been sitting here examining them at high magnification on my computer monitor, which is set for millions of colors, and I'm seeing things that I never saw before! It's astounding how Bouguereau has those complementary colors side-by-side everywhere, subtly blending into and enhancing each other all the way across an arm or a face, or in the folds of clothing. Rosy red will imperceptibly grade off into a quiet green across a cheek or a nose, and the two colors together look stunning! No wonder people say they are blown away by these paintings when they see them for real!

After studying these high-resolution pictures tonight, I have come to realize that orchestrating and blending these warm and cool complementary colors everywhere on a painting, especially on skin, as Bouguereau and the other masters did it, is the sort of thing I MUST learn to do to paint better. I am seeing the identical thing in the high-res Alma-Tadema images. It's obviously a basic principle that MUST be mastered for a painter to do high-quality work. I have often seen these gentle reds, blues and greens in the live skin of my models, but I didn't know how to depict them. I always over-simplified. My clumsy previous attempts to portray them on the canvas often looked too blatant, too phony, and I usually ended up toning them down, or else I used a duller gray in the shadows instead of the definite greens or blues I should have used. And my paintings have been suffering for it, being dull and bland where they should be lively and sparkling, without me even knowing what was wrong. I simply don't have that skill yet.

However, being able to see these up-close details in the ARC images has really got me excited now. I'm beginning to see what's possible, and what I've been doing wrong. I have much experimenting to do with paint, beginning tonight. And I'm going to work at it until I've got it, no matter how long it takes. It's the next step up for me.

I just got so enthused about this that I had to let you know. Those scans are fantastic! They're going to do me a lot of good!

Thanks as always and best wishes,

Tom