Ethan’s Ollie

Here is a picture, below, I did of Ethan doing an Ollie on his skateboard:


I liked the dark background as it gave definition to his upper body and arms, which were light.  But I found the tree trunk offputting. So I did the picture again:


the background is more suggested than described and I liked the figure better. Any comments on the comparison? For information, here are the stages in the development of the first picture:

Subsequent note:  I did this work a year ago but in moving across to this blog I got this to repost – I am not sure how that happened.  (However I drew a great crit from Keith so it is well)

15 thoughts on “Ethan’s Ollie

  1. Hi Stephen

    Fab work! I really, REALLY like the first one, although I agree with your observation about the tree trunk. It follows the contour of Ethan’s back, so looks a bit unnatural. It just needed a slight change of direction, that’s all, and maybe toning down a little so as not to compete with the subject. But the foliage gave you that wonderful opportunity to show the highlight in his hair and the negative shape of his arms – beautifully and subtlely painted. Wonderful!
    All this was lost in the 2nd version, along with all the bold contrasts.

    • Hi Keith

      It is so good to hear from you.
      mmmm – the second version – I thought it was much better but it lost the zap didnt it? I can see how. Thanks so much for this feedback. This is another painting that I will give another go.

      All the best



  2. I like the first one, also, Stephen. I am not off-put by the tree but consider it part of the story of the boy. It’s like strength and flexibility, earthbound and free. The tree, for me, was never background in this painting from the first time I saw it. It was part of the boy.

  3. Hi, Stephen. I like your skateboard painting, it is so much alive and in motion. I prefer the first version as it is stronger, the tree doesn’t bother me and you solved the problem of his back with a highlight. For me the shadow on the ground is the most dramatic and interesting image – love it!

  4. OK. I’ll chime in here and say I like the one with the tree better too. But that’s only because he’s in a place. The 2nd one looks like he’s in floating somewhere.

    I love how you’ve captured his jump off the skateboard. What do you call it? An Ollie??? And I love his shadow on both.

    • I heard them talking about ‘Arlies’ but Ethan put me right on the spelling – its when you jump, kick the board up and flip it over – these guys are amazing – they have videos of the pros doing those as they jump over fire-hydrants and fly through the air down flights of steps.

      Thanks for your input – this has turned into a rich reflection on composition – very useful for me.

  5. I’m for the first one with the tree. I like the composition. The tree gives some context to your leaping roller-blader.I also like the depth of colour you get in the first one, and the liberty of brushwork in the tree and the figure.
    I love this image so much!

  6. I’m not an artist, but a photographer friend of Leslie’s, but I agree the first one is stronger. The tree compliments the skater, not detracts, and the shadow of the skater is made bolder by the shadow of the tree. I love the way the tree mirrors the shape of the skatter’s back. Nice work!

  7. Magnificent!
    I have visited the Leslie blog and in the last post she has a great idea to show everything she discover and enjoy in other blogs.Now i make you a first visite,but in the future i will be around again to admire your beautiful paintings 🙂

    Have a special day,my friend! 🙂

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