Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Looking for Suggestions

I've been working on this piece to give to a family member as a gift this weekend.  At this stage I'm looking for some constructive criticism to help me take this painting to a higher level.....it's just not there yet and I'm afraid I may be adding paint unnecessarily.  I think I just need a little direction on where I need to strengthen it. 

I'm hoping I can get the help of some of my fellow "blogger artists" to provide words of advice before I change my mind and end up with a gift card instead of a painting as a gift.  Right now I feel I have a very flat painting with little to no interest or focal point.....I'm just not feeling it.

This is my reference photo.
(I don't think the recipient frequents my blog, at least I hope they don't, this week especially, in case this painting ends up in my recycle file.)


  1. You have no real darks in the painting. In the photo the green trees on the left are quite dard at the base. The cast shadow over the garage doors need a hint of color - maybe a blue violet - to make the section of white door that is in sun pop out. Some texture on the driveway maybe too. Lovely painting. A partial cast shadow on the left shutter at the bottom.

  2. Thank you Jean. I tend to be so timid with darker values. I think I'm torn between putting them down right away or building them layer by layer. At this rate, I just need to get them down on the paper. Great tips.

  3. Gretchen- pretty painting so far, I agree that maybe some more powerful darks for contrast may do it! I am having the same problem with a painting, and last night my husband suggested I put it on my blog to get tips. Good luck!

  4. I agree with Jean.
    If you look at the roof line, on the far right, you did start to put a dark shadow in - and I would have continued it all along the underside of the roof.
    On the open window, your shadow is stronger than the window and that needs to be addressed too. I would lighten the grey - and maybe use a ultramarine/alizarin crimson as a shadow mix. It would warm the painting up.
    I might also be tempted to put a little of the colour of the plant in the pot within the tree too, to help make the plant life cohesive.

    They really are only tiny changes, your painting is very good, good shadows will make it great :)

  5. Good suggestions so far! Here are a couple more, for what they are worth:
    It might help to keep this in mind - a MAN once looked at one of my paintings, unsigned, and made the comment "that must have been painted by a woman - they never get their shadows dark enough"!!! Well, that comment is burned into my brain and at the end of every painting I look at my darks to see if I've painted them "like a woman" or "like a man" - and it has helped me a lot!!!
    Also - there is nothing wrong with a beautiful high key painting, but you still need to have some value changes to make it "read". If you have a piece of red acetate look through it to read your values and see if you can "read the painting" in shades of black and white.
    Now don't go too dark!!! This is a beautiful, soft, sunny painting - remember that "dark" is relative to whatever else is in the painting. Maybe what would read as a medium value elsewhere will be the perfect dark here. Looking forward to see what changes you make!

  6. Without sounding "too cliche", this blog has blessed me with very generous and talented artists willing to lend a hand to their fellow artist. It is very humbling to post a piece that I consider "below par" right now. It's very easy to post my successful pieces. But part of the reason for doing this blog is to grow as an artist. So....humble I will be and I certainly appreciate every one of your comments and suggestions. In fact, I think I will need to take notes first before I dive in and start my corrections. I just hope I can turn this one around.....for the sake of gift-giving.

    I normally address each comment personally, however I think you all have me heading in a similar direction and I thank you ALL for your critique and words of wisdom.

    Wish me luck. I will post my changes once I've finished.

  7. Hi Gretchen! I haven't painted many landscapes lately, but I agree that you need more contrast. Only I would say, don't add it in layers. If you get too many more layers, it will start to get all muddy. Jump right in with your darks in one layer only. Then turn your head away and don't look at it for awhile while it dries. Have you ever tried an acetate overlay to paint your darks on, before you commit to painting them on the paper? That's an option. RoseAnn Hayes

  8. Great beginning Gretchen. If I was painting this I would plant few red geraniums in the window flower trays and maybe few daffodils on a front (right before the hedge)... But it is totally up to you. I just like that few sparkles of colors.


  9. RoseAnn....I agree. I don't know what it is with landscapes, but mine tend to go too light. Something I need to practice more. I'll have to try the acetate overlay....that sounds like it might be helpful.

    Irina...I think you're right. Looking at the photo, it's a very "green" picture. I may try to put flowers in the window boxes, however I have to be careful as to not overwork it now. We'll see. I may consider starting over if I can't get my adjustments looking right.

    Thank you both for your suggestions.

  10. Another useful trick is to switch the photo of your painting to black & white in your photo editing program. This will make the contrast in values (or lack thereof) quite obvious. This painting just looks unfinished to me - keep going!

  11. Hi Gretchen, what a nice composition. I agree with previous comments a few more contrasting colors and darks. I always get stuck at this point in landscapes in particular, it's like i don't know where to go. This is really a nice gift. Do you look at Laura's watercolor blog. She does really nice things with color. Enjoy



Related Posts with Thumbnails