Wednesday, December 12, 2007


I need some help from you guys... I have been thinking about doing this painting for a while, so I had what I thought was a pretty well form idea in my head as to what this would look like. Then I painted it and it doesn't really look like what I had in mind so it's hard for me to judge how this is going... I'm looking for some feedback as to what you guys think this painting might need, both from a content standpoint as well as from a technique standpoint. Thanks in advance!


Mr Goodson said...

Wow. That's a nice sports illustrated spot illo. Critique wise. I'd say lengthen the right arm and work on a kind of natural hang for it's new lenngth. Bring detail level up around the main point of interest, the head of the lead guy. Bring highlight and detail level on the head up to the brocade detail of his leather skirt. I think the background elemntrs are all finished enough. I think when you core in and finish the main guy in the right way, the rest of it will look miraculously finished. At foot level, I'd get rid of the oblique grey stripe. It leads the eye to the feet of the next nearest guy and gives a perspective feel of that fellow being a might mite. I think you can get away with a completely flat plane for the feet ala Carmine Infantino if you don't track away from the feet with any sort of grid. Put some nice specular on the main guys helmet and maybe select him, puch his contrast up a bit, make him a tad richer than the rest. And maybe put him on a level and surround him with an outline on a lower level and play with erasing it and changing it's contrastiness based on where it's at in the light. Lose the edge here and theer. But if that ruins the painterliness, ditch it. Hope that helped any move forward. Great piece. Just netrtaining yourself?

Mr Goodson said...

Took another look and I'd say get rid on the high specular highlights on the bleachers behind the leftmost guy. It comes forward through that guys legs. The bleachers on the right are done well and are pushed back just right with atmospheric perspective.

Mr Goodson said...

When I said right arm , I meant the character's straight at his side right arm. Not the picture plane right. Just to be clear and give myself another chance to produce typoz

rickart said...

Yeah, I knew about the arm... I've been trying to convince myself that it was okay.

Thanks for all of the input, Ellis! That all really helps!

Tom Moon said...

I'm no help. I think it's terrific. I love it. Really beautiful. All of it. I never noticed the arm.

Mr Goodson said...

I'm with Tom, its plenty good. You were inviting rumination. So I produced some. I do think if the only thing you did was tighten the main head and helmet , the whole thing would simultaneously finish. I've seen this in painting demos where it looks like the whole painting is going to take a ton more work, and Richard Schmidt will start laying in eye and nose detail and voila. You hope Schmidt doesn't touch any thing else because it's "done."

Tom Moon said...

Actually I will say more. It's not just that the piece looks done to me, I'm also struck by how different it is from your usual drawings in terms of both style and content.

I don't think I would have picked this out as a Rick Schmitz, and I know your style so well after 15 or 16 years. Usually your figures have a much more angular, sharp and bony look to them, and are in more actively agressive, generic, "super-hero" poses.
The artichoke guy and the painting just before that, the "ant" guy, are prime examples.

In this piece you have focused on a single moment where something very specific is happening: the salute just before the start of the game. It still has that element of aggressiveness to it of course, but it has a more thoughtful air also.

I like the rounded, "meaty" look of these figures. I love the golden warmth that suffuses the piece - the rich reds and golds of the armor.

It could be a Sports Illustrated piece, or it could be one of a series of paintings that show a whole private world of your own, a la Dinotopia. Perhaps the computer tablet is bringing out a whole different side of you.

What's the story behind it, and do you also feel a shift in your style?

rickart said...

Well, you’ve made some interesting observations here…

First of all, the inspiration for the image:
As you know, I’ve always been rather skeptical about the sporting world, so mixing football with roman gladiators seems like a natural satirical image. Also, the “Rome never fell” idea is the classic alternate earth story (even Star Trek did one!) and it has always appealed to me.

Also, years ago I bought a book that I was inspired to buy based entirely on the cover… It had a painting of a roman war machine, sort of a big tank, which was made by an illustrator I had never heard of before… James Gurney! So your Dinotopia comment is very interesting to me indeed. Of course I don’t paint anything like him, but that may have been in the back of my mind while I was working on this.

As far as the different style thing is concerned, I guess time will tell. The other Tablet paintings I’ve been sharing on the Blog have been re-worked pencil drawings where as this piece was a totally original Tablet painting… so that may have had something to do with it as well.

Recently I have been inspired by the concept people I worked with at Turbine, and the trend in concept work is to do paintings like this rather than sketches, so you will probably see more work like this coming from me in the future.

Tom Moon said...

Actually I made that commment because it does remind me of Gurney's work.