Saturday, September 25, 2010

A quick crit

Above is a painting I had submitted to me for a critique. Below is my crudely photoshopped version. Below that I will discuss what I did to it and why.

  • I felt that the original version was too dotty, so I threw some broader strokes in to it. I made brush marks instead of dots.
  • I reworked the fence line. In the original the fence dived down in to the ground, taking the bush behind it along. I also ran some light and shadow patches on the fence to break up the overly insistent geometry there.The grass in the foreground closed in there too. This formed all of these converging pointing lines in a place where nothing was really going on.
  • I made the road follow through the foreground into the distance better. It seemed odd the the foreground road was covered in grass and the distance was not. I slipped some shadow variation along the fence line all the way to the boat, giving more variation into that area.
  • I used "value stacking" to put darks behind the lights and lights behind the darks in the river and boat area. Also in the sky behind the bridge. I now have a more interesting set of values there and the values set off the things I want you to see. Before, for instance the boat just disappeared. Now it lights up against the darker water.
  • I softened up the grass in the foreground and made it a little less saturated. It got more light and less color. Light "eats" color.
  • I made a less square top on the bush behind the fence. I also pulled it together into simpler less spotty values. It now has a big light and a big dark.
  • I accented the boat with bright white to bring your eye to it. I then scattered a little bit of that into the road, which takes your eye there like Hansel's breadcrumbs.
  • I made the tree in the upper left hand corner run up and out of the painting, rather than kissing the frame. That looks more natural. Before it looked as if that tree was being careful to duck it's head and stay within the picture.


Karla said...

Really, really appreciate the visual reinforcement of the things you teach. Thank you Stape, hope your workshop is going well. And thanks to the painter who submitted the work for critique.

Judy P. said...

I agree Stapleton, that your changes have improved the painting.
But that value stacking is a tough thing to work- I'll bet the painter did see that water as glaringly light, and thought that effect should be captured. I think more confidence is needed than many of us have to change what is in front of us. It's hard ignoring that age-old chestnut "paint what you see!"

Catherine Meeks said...

I'd love to read two sentences clarifying the fascinating concept of "light eating color" -- the only part of this wonderful crit that I couldn't quite grasp.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thank you. The workshop is going well and I am ruined. I work a real long day.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I am sure the water was that bright, but there was just too much in the passage, including a white boat that didn't show up.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I addressed that tonight.