View Full Version : Strawberries and wine

04-20-2003, 05:06 PM

This is my second attempt at this still life. I am still not really happy with it, but by now the strawberries are all mushy and I got tired of staring at the wine.

Do tell me what you think, what's wrong and how to improve this.
Thanks for looking


W&N on half sheet Arches 140lb, CP

Alan Cross
04-20-2003, 05:08 PM
Hi Olga I think what y;ou painted was fine my problem with it is the compostion...its very static you need more overlapping of shapes....
Alan :)

04-20-2003, 05:20 PM
Superb, Olga! :clap: :clap: :clap:

So well observed - your rendition of the glassware and reflections is excellent.

I note you have a distinct shadow from the railings across the sugar bowl, but none elsewhere?


04-20-2003, 05:32 PM
Hi Olga,
I agree , the painting of the reflections is superb , the strawberries glisen in the sunlight . Lovely

My suggestions would be ,

With the composition and tonal values . If the image is converted to greyscale it shows all the tonal strength is in the bottle.


As I look at the painting my eye is drawn to the bottle, I see the strawberries and want to look . But my eye gets dragged back by the tonal strength of the bottle .

The strawberries do need some more darks and the shadows, this would help . But then you will have two strong focal points competing agaist one another .

You could crop the painting and remove the bottle but still add some darks,



Strawberry Wine
04-20-2003, 05:41 PM
Olaga, your Strawberries are mouth watering. Excellent detail on the napkin and sugar bowl.

I find all the green a bit distracting. I would lift some if you can near the top to bring back the yellow and go darker at the bottom of the foliage. Also add a bit of purple to the water jug. You have that band of purple ( the bottom of the window sill?) going straight across the painting but yellow reflections in that part of the water jug.

Think about what Alan said about compostion next time and with your amazing detail work you will have a winner.


04-20-2003, 05:42 PM
You got some great advise -

You've done a lovely job, Olga, It's really wonderful!:clap:

Strawberry Wine
04-20-2003, 05:45 PM
Cross posted with Rod and I like the crop and think it would work very well

Gail :)

04-20-2003, 06:02 PM
Thanks for the comments, everybody. I really appreciate the critique...

Alan--I agree there might be a composition problem, but I don't think it's the lack of overlap...mostly because there is much overlap...and the shadows link all the objects.

Yorky--thanks. You startled me with that shadow: don't know where that came from. It's not on the original.

Rod--thanks so much for looking so carefully. Think you are right about that bottle--it's too dominant. I wanted something to close the composition on this side, but that bottle is too much.
Think it looks too heavy with the bottle and too anemic and centered without it... Oh well. I though of making the plate with the strawberries a darker value...but after trying in the PS I am not sure it helps either. So...there is always the next one :)

Gail--thanks for looking. The reflection is pretty much as it was in life and what attracted me to it in the first place. The water shifted everything up: the yellow is from the table the pitcher standing on, and the purplish grey is above it. Not sure about the green.



04-20-2003, 07:11 PM
Beautifully painted Olga!!!!! I agree re composition, I feel either the waterjug of the bottle has to go and yet they are both beautiful!!!!!

Reminds me when I was at University haveing to write essays. I'd have this beautiful sentence in there but somehow it threw off the whole thread. I'd practically change the whole essay just to keep that sentence in there but in the end it didn't work and I had to cut it out.:D

04-20-2003, 08:24 PM

So, I made the saucer with strawberries blue to make them more central to the composition:


and I still wasn't happy (Rod said why that wouldn't work)

Then I tried cropping. First, by moving the bottle all the way to the edge, to make it do what it was supposed to--close the composition:


and then without the bottle altogether:


And ater all that, I decided neither version is really any good. What annoys me most is that I painted the whole thing twice without realizing that the problem is the composition... and I thought I had planned it all very well.

Well--live and learn...


04-20-2003, 08:25 PM
All the other comments aside I want to say that I am so impressed with your pitcher of water, the wine bottle and the wine glass. Those are my favorite parts and each piece is wonderfully rendered.

04-20-2003, 08:36 PM
Olga, I know you don't agree right now, but the crop without the bottle is a very nice and complete painting. (That said, I do like how you painted the bottle itself too.)

Maybe if you look at it after some time has passed, you will see it's a keeper after all. :)


Little Old Lady
04-20-2003, 08:36 PM
All the items are beautifully rendered.

04-20-2003, 09:16 PM
Karen, Tess and JoAnn--thank you for the encouragment :)

Tess--I think you are absulutely right that I looked at this too long and I need a break.


04-20-2003, 10:01 PM
each of the components is well rendered

each is , unto itself, an interesting item

the painting as a whole is not whole

you see them as individual objects.....instead of part of the whole

tis that concept I love.....letting the painting be the object...not the items within

04-20-2003, 11:23 PM
Hi again Olga,

Just another thought, one point we did overlook were the shadows , light from the window would create some.

The blue saucer adds darker tones and does balance more,



04-20-2003, 11:26 PM
I really like the different textures of glass, ceramic, liquid, cloth.......and that blue saucer is special now....

04-21-2003, 01:41 AM
:clap: :clap: :clap: Wonderful Olga ! I love the blue saucer, looks really nice with the red strawberries on it. You did very great on the glasses too. Rod has been given a lot of help on this, I am also learning from his advice.

04-21-2003, 03:18 AM
Rod--WOW! What a super idea! That looks so much better with those shadows. Really pulls it together.... THANK YOU SO MUCH. I was really ready to chuck this one...

Pam--I couldn't agree more. "Letting the painting be an object... not the items within" is exactly what I think makes or breaks a painting. (It never came together in this one despite all the color and shape planning I *thought* I did... but Rod's solution helps, don't you think?)

Al and Patricia--thank you.


04-21-2003, 04:19 AM

I was voting for your last cropped version, but emphasizing the shadows as Rod has shown is even better.

Don't for goodness sake abandon this now - it's a lovely painting.


04-21-2003, 06:58 AM
Hi Olga,

This is coming together very well now, when you add the shadows that should tie everything together nicely.

I think your rendition of the glass in this painting is superb, the bottle, the water jug, the wine glass all read as GLASS! The cloth napkin is also well done. I thought originally that the strawberries looked flat and two-dimensional, but now that you've changed the dish they are on to blue, they seem more rounded. Did you also add some darks in the pile of fruit?

This looks to me as if it was set up on a balcony outdoors. Not sure why people think it is a window.

This is now a keeper. I think you are tired of working on it since it is the second rendition of the same subject. Put it aside for a couple of days and when you get it out again you'll see it with fresh eyes.

04-21-2003, 08:50 AM
Olga, you'll finish this off beautifully... What a difference the colour of the saucer makes! I too think it looks like it's set up on a deck or balcony... Would darkening the shrubbery behind help incorporate the darker values of the wine bottle and blue glass (which REALLY comes across as glass)?

04-21-2003, 03:33 PM
Here's the latest version incorporating Rod's idea. I think it's better (thank you, Rod!)


As you see, Doug, I did not drop it. But I think I need to leave it now... (And it was you who saw those shadows first...when they were there only as a scan artifact....)

Sylvia--thanks for the nice comment. The still life was in front of the window with the balcony railing behind (so no shadows were showing since it's too far), but from the beginning I meant to paint it as if it was a table on the balcony and not bother with a window. Now with the shadows it can only make sense if it's outside...

Char--Thanks! You are probably right about the green, but I think I want to leave it as is for now--both because I am worried about overworking it and to keep a bit of the spring feeling in it.


P.S. Looking at it after posting, I think the crop on the left should be a tad closer...

04-21-2003, 04:06 PM
Wow - this was so interesting to watch how all the improvements you added made such an impact. I was impressed when you changed the bowl to blue and felt it made a big difference but Rod's ideas about the shadows just pulled it all together.

I hop you had a sip of the wine and a nibble on the strawberries whe yu were contemplating what to do with it :p


04-21-2003, 04:09 PM
Originally posted by Olga
Pam--I couldn't agree more. "Letting the painting be an object... not the items within" is exactly what I think makes or breaks a painting. (It never came together in this one despite all the color and shape planning I *thought* I did... but Rod's solution helps, don't you think?)


indeed...much more cohesive

good job

Little Old Lady
04-21-2003, 07:44 PM
Great finish.

04-22-2003, 02:16 AM
Bre--Thanks! By the time I got through with this the strawberries and the wine weren't fresh anymore... What one sacrifices for art ...lol

Pam and JoAnn--thanks for looking again. I am happier with it now, too.


Strawberry Wine
04-22-2003, 07:45 PM
Olga: Wow, what a difference with such subtle changes and I just love the blue saucer. The shadows make a huge difference. Glad you kept at it.

Gail :)

04-22-2003, 09:24 PM
Great thread
Great Teacher, Rod
Great learner, Olga
Great result :clap: :clap: :clap:

(Agree about tad more crop on lhs :D For me, the added shadows counter-balance/desaturate the greens beautifully by guiding you into the objects in the painting as well as tying those objects together )

04-22-2003, 09:46 PM
Yes!!! Looks great with the shadows and I also like the blue saucer. Definitely makes a lovely looking painting now!! Should have had Rod there for my essays!!! HA!