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Stephen Hampton 02-06-2015 12:39 PM

My Magnum Opus
The two best mares I have ever raised, conditioned, and trained. Sonrisa; bay paso fino, and Twiggy; black quarter horse.

Have published original photos for comparison. Scroll down to see. In the color inversion, the brownish tarp is roughly the shape of an american alligator head. There are many such (10+feet long) on the St Mary's River where I have often ridden these horses. Work and pleasure, beauty and danger. Thanks everyone, for viewing, and please comment. All feedback is greatly appreciated.

Jeanne G 02-06-2015 01:36 PM

Hi Stephen,
I'm totally out of my depth on art and photography, so this is a totally unqualified opinion. I don't like the sidebbar pic at all. It looks photo-albumish. The blurred backdrop of the field and trees is interesting. It has a muted look like certain era of paintings, while the horses stand out in stark and solid relief.

Your horses are absolutely beautiful. I was trained to ride english and western when I was young by a horse trainer who knew all the ropes and taught me just a tad of them. I wasn't allowed to even ride until I'd learned to care for the horses, their hooves, grooming, saddling etc. I admire anyone who is expert on it all and isn't intimidated by these magnificent creatures. I've been bucked, poggo-sticked, reared, and treed. I never really got over my intimidation of them and they always know it.


Stephen Hampton 02-06-2015 02:31 PM

Thanks, Jeanne. Horses never forget, and they can read body language much better than most any human. I rearranged the two photos
Have a great day.

ross hamilton hill 02-06-2015 06:46 PM

The first photo is just OK, the fence is a big minus, the second photo is really ordinary, blurry and lacking much of anything. I like your enthusiasm but really you should be able to do better.

These don't do your lovely horses justice.

Michael Cantor 02-06-2015 07:02 PM

What Ross said. The horses are wonderful. But this isn't a horse appreciation site. The photos are totally ordinary snapshots, poorly cropped, background conflicting with the shot, no tension, no particular interest as photographs.

Sharon Passmore 02-07-2015 12:13 AM

I only see one snapshot. What's up with this? This is Eratosphere not Instagram. I am being blunt with you because I know you can at least TRY to make art from the image.

ross hamilton hill 02-07-2015 12:34 AM

There were two images, Stephen, I presume, has withdrawn the less successful.

Sharon Passmore 02-07-2015 12:48 AM

Remember, on a previous thread, I mentioned "Not to design is to design by default"?

Allow me to clarify this.

To design is to consider and make decisions about an aspect of a piece.

What aspects of a piece is the artist responsible for? Everything. Tone, value (light vs dark), line, color, emotional content, focal point, composition, cropping, scale, texture, depth, light, gesture, rhythm and so on.

If you let any of these slide into default you get a horse appreciation snapshot.

So ask yourself, is this the best crop that could be done, with the black horse cut off? How about focal point, where do you WANT the focal point? How can you subordinate the other areas? Is the brightness and contrast where you want it? Does that blue tarp really belong there? Is it the best angle of these horses? Are you having them lit to the best advantage? How does the background relate to the foreground?

Don't let any of this be default please.

Another thing to consider is that a piece of art should have emotional content, by it's artistry. It's not enough that horses are cool and a horse lover will have emotional response because there are horses. You need to show the beauty of a horse. It's the same as the "show don't tell" aspect of poetry.

The only way to "show" this emotion is to be feeling it while you work on the piece, and maybe, maybe, it will come through to the viewer, because you will not be around to explain to every viewer why Sonrisa and Twiggy are so cool. It has to come through in the piece.

Stephen Hampton 02-09-2015 01:37 AM

Thanks Sharon, Ross and Michael. Just got the time to try and do something with this.
Done some trimming and radically changed the colors of the image. Please let me know what you think.

Sharon Passmore 02-10-2015 10:14 AM

Hi Stephen,
I'm happy to see that you are giving these issues some more thought. I would love to see all the images so that we can compare them as they are work-shopped. Would you mind if I went into your original post and put the image in the thread? Then you could go into edit and see how the code is done. It's fairly simple.

I am liking this image better overall but part of me is sad to see the black horse gone. Its strange how a simple change of color can completely change the meaning from powerful glistening muscles to ghostly. The whole image has more cohesion now though.

The tarp is still bugging me. Do you know how to fix something like that? What graphics program are you using? Gimp is very nice and free, however it is mainly for use on the web. PhotoShop has all the functions for print media. Not having PhotoShop myself, I use Gimp and if quality printing is needed I just take my files down to Kinkos and convert them.

Some options would be:
~Select only the tarp and then, in the color menus, shift the hue. Or
~Using the "clone" tool, replace the tarp with another part of the background. (you could lose the fence that way too if you wanted.) Or
~Using the eyedropper tool, pick up some of the red and introduce it into other areas of the image. You can set your paintbrush to be semi-transparent.
Or, if you like it, keep it. It's your piece. Always try new things on a copy.

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