How to Handle the ground cover

I have attached here a colored pencil painting displaying the original reference photo (top) and my painting on the bottom. I would like suggestions on how to handle the ground cover, or just leave as is. Thanks in advance.


Maybe add only a little more ground to the bird on the left, or possibly bring the ground together between the birds. But more then that it takes away from the beautiful birds. Good job on those they look alive.

Oh, great suggestion. Thanks for your input.

I think you should do ground cover; but somehow near the top of the pic find a way to lessen it.

for example, you could soften it and blur it, as if it was taken by a camera with a narrow field of view;

or you could reduce contrast and darken it. that way the birds stand out in brightness and contrast.

what you should not do IMHO is faithfully follow the reference image to the point at which the texture of the ground distracts from the center of interest; the two birds

these are a couple ideas, at least. so far it looks amazing.

PS. now that I actually look more closely at the reference; it is a little blurry at the top left of the image. you only need to emphasize the effect; bringing the bluriness down so the birds heads aren’t in a distracting amount of texture.

This is what I love about this site . . . the comments and suggestions by other art students improving their talents. Thank you. Jody

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Hi Jodi! I think both suggestions are valid. My personal preference would be to follow Kari D’s suggestion as this was my initial reaction. Right now, it seems that the bird on the right seems to be closer to the viewer, although in the initial photo they are side by side. So, it all depends what you prefer to achieve… joining the ground between the two may put them on the same plane OR could further distance the left bird from the other depending on how you join the ground. No matter what you do, this is a very nice painting.

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I agree. It is always tempting to put more and more but sometimes a vignette works best.

This is exactly what I decided to do: more shadow under the birds and connected the ground between them. The fear was that it might make the left bird look further away, but it actually but them on the same “playing field”. Thank you all for such helpful suggestions. Jody

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I am not sure how to put this; but, I think a graphite pencil drawing small circles and fading to the back of the picture might give a stone like look to the background. Don’t do it everywhere, just concentrate on what it looks like near the birds. You did an excellent drawing.