View Full Version : my first painting-critique please

04-30-2003, 09:56 AM
Ok, I'm thick skinned so go for it. But seriously, i would like to learn all I can.

Just a bit of background -
This is my very first painting I have ever done. I have to art experience or training at all, but I am signing up for watercolor class next month. This painting was done as a step-by-step lesson from a book. It is also the first time I've tried to draw anything other than stick people.

Your critiques and comments are very much appreciated.

Materials: 120 lb Canson paints were from a cheap kit, watery with no label (guess I love a challenge lol)
brushes came with cheap paint kit. Also no label


Just a note, I have bought some new paint, W&N Cotman. What a difference. Still need brushes.

Thank you for your input and for all the inspiration you give.

Bonnie :D

04-30-2003, 10:04 AM

Considering the chaep paint, brushes and paper...this is GREAT!!!!

Wait till you have better equipement, you will be amazed at the difference.

Good job on color and value in this one



04-30-2003, 10:15 AM
This is very good for a first painting sisangel,

My first painting ended up in the bin, lol

But isn't it a great feeling when you accomplish a painting, I know it is for me.

I like the composition except for maybe the distant Mountains.
You have them in the middle of the painting. Next time change the angle of the painting so that the mountains are not straight across the middle of painting.
It looks to centralized to me.

I would also soften the mountains a bit along the edge.

The tree trunk on the right looks like the letter Y.

Sorry if this is to picky, but its the only way to learn.

But than I am still a beginner, so maybe others can offer better advice.

04-30-2003, 10:28 AM
Must say you've got courage.
You're lucky I have'nt had my coffe and acid yet..
I think you will enjoy all you will be learning in the years to come and that watercolours are just plain fun....and that you will never know all there is to know...that said,
If the trees are reflected in the water, why not the bridge?
1..Oop's I forgot?
2..Had a hard enough time doing the bridge?
3..I'll get back to you?
Take care,

04-30-2003, 10:40 AM
Hope I have not offended you with my comments sisangel.

I just read that it was a exercise from a book

Just tell me to shut up next time. LOL

04-30-2003, 10:47 AM
Bonnie, congratulations, not only on your first painting ever, but UPLOADING it so that we can see it while we critique! Thank you!
Tell the other Newbies (and some of us oldies) that it is not that hard, please! LOL

I can tell your people are people.:D

Your bridge and its reflections are quite good.:)

In fact, the whole painting is rather pleasing. Your darks at the right and bottom left are good. Your trees--they need some "sky holes" (patches of blue sky showing through), UNLESS the demo you were painting from had no sky holes!!

If you have any questions, you can PM me, or ask them right on here and everyone can see the question and the answer. Remember, there are no stupid questions!

I'm looking forward to more of your work. Just have fun!


04-30-2003, 11:01 AM

Lovely first painting. I am a newbie myself (only about one year painting). The values in your painting, especially in the middle appear to be the same. I would think (and could be wrong) that the mountains should be lighter as they are in the back than the bridge, etc. that is in front of it. Right now they sort of blend together.

I will try one of Pam's techniques here and attach a greyscale.


Hope this helps...

04-30-2003, 11:34 AM
Hi Bonnie!
I think you did very well with the equipment you had

lyn lynch
04-30-2003, 11:37 AM
I think it is a very nice work and commend you for undertaking it.
Good paper, paint and brushes make a huge difference, particularly so in the learning stages. Once you have an accomplishment you can get results with anything.

I don't understand the buzz about the uploader myself. I like the attach because that's how I see the pic and post simultaneously--perhaps it's a MAC thing.

Hope you have a good teacher and classes, makes a big difference. You will learn much by participating in the threads of others, here on Watercolor, just by viewing their painting and reading commentary of others and by posting your own comments.


04-30-2003, 11:45 AM
For a first painting this is good! My first had to be burned before anyone caught sight of it. the only things I can see wrong are the missing reflection as seedy pointed out and that I'm not sure what that blob on the left is. Two treetops? Tree and shore? Tree and reflection? ??? Some kind of defining element is needed to tell what's going on there.

04-30-2003, 11:56 AM
Sorry to break this thread with a different topic...
I have spent years running the one of the most difficult computer programs, namely AutoCad, but I'll be darned if I can get a decent post with an attachment.
I have an HP4570c scanner that does 35mm slides with an attachment that sits on the flatbed. Question?
What size should I scan the slide at?...I can set the size in inches or pixels.
What size do you use to attach to your post?
What is the diffrence in uploading via the uploader and uploading with the attach feature?
Feel free to e-mail me....
I know this should be in the either photography or computers, but they do'nt seem to respond.
Take care,

04-30-2003, 11:59 AM
Fookie, if you can see someone's attached image at the same time that you are typing the comment or critique, it must be a MAC thing.

On my PC, for me to see the image at the same time I'm typing (by scrolling down to bottom of page), it must be uploaded. The attached images are not shown on the same page as the reply box. I try to remember what I saw, but this mind is not as spry and photographic as it used to be! LOL My request for uploads are not just because I am a grouch. :evil:


04-30-2003, 12:22 PM
Well done Bonnie! Nice layout. Considering the materials at hand you've done a great job. You definitely will notice a big difference in future paintings. Besides the mentioned shadows in the water, tree on the left, you can make the river bank "pop" by using a rigger brush loaded with brunt sierra and ultramarine blue. You just need to touch in places where the land meets the water (thin lines highlighting the bank). This will help your bank "pop." Keep on posting. I like your attitude toward critique!


Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too difficult to read! Groucho Marx

04-30-2003, 02:21 PM
Welcome Bonnie
Nice way to begin, no matter result or materials you started with, it is beautiful cause it is simple.
You got lots of good advices, my two cents... try to use several layers of watercolor trasparency to get darker values, donīt use saturated brush strokes, try to reserve some paper white to get light and atmosphere.


04-30-2003, 02:33 PM
Hi Bonnie,

Great post and great job--I don't have anything else to add aside from what's already been said (and I won't comment on adding reflections until I've tried to add mine!).

I did respond to your PM--sorry it took so long for my reply.

Can't wait to see the next one.


04-30-2003, 03:23 PM
Well ...
squinting and checking regularly on your work helps a lot. Also check on your composition, in this case the left versus the right, the eye is pulled from left to right neglecting the rest of the painting. This is just my humble opinion ... for what it's worth !

04-30-2003, 04:00 PM
A very good first try. As it was a step by step excercise we can discount the composition. Values are difficult for beginners you can squint through half closed eyes as Gilberte says but a favourite of mine is to view the painting in a twilight lit room. Values come naturally with time. Don't worry about the paint quality too much, student quality is fine something like Winsor and Newton Cotman series will produce good paintings and with the larger tubes you need not worry about the amount of paint you might be wasting( I know an internationally famous artist who uses only Cotman colours). Synthetic brushes are fine to start with in fact I still use them I can't get on with sables. A large goat hair brush is helpful I think Winsor and Newton call it the Frank Clarke brush also known as a hake. I've had mine for ten years it's been in daily use; great for big washes and a thirsty brush can produce some really good impressionistic effects. A nice cheap paper is the Bockingford 140 lb not. It's really tough lets you scrub out and make a few changes I use nothing else. Always stretch it as it will cockle if made too wet. Best of luck with your paintings in the future.

04-30-2003, 05:05 PM
WELCOME and CONGRATULATIONS on your first painting. For a first it's good. You'll learn a lot in class and here plus have a lot of fun!!!!

04-30-2003, 08:09 PM
Pam - Thanks so much for the very warm welcome and encouragement.

Brian - I'll have to chose option #2 Had a hard enough time just doing the bridge. That's my story and I'm sticking to it! :D

Walerian - About that blob on the left, it's supposed to be tree &shore, but turned out to be a nice big blob. Way to much paint on the left side. Getting better about that.

Skip and Alex - Great suggestions. Those are keepers. Thank you.

Islander _ Thanks for the good suggestions on materials. I have bought some tubes of the W&N cotman and like them very much. Tried Grumbacher & Rowney student grades but not as good as cotman.

Thank you everyone for taking the time to look at the painting and your critiques and comments. I will do it again sometime.
It is also a good way to get to know everyone.

Happy painting,

Little Old Lady
04-30-2003, 08:21 PM
Welcome! A very nice job for a first painting. Good job on bridge and water. Good luck with the class.

05-01-2003, 07:28 PM
Welcome Bonnie! One of the most difficult posts is your first one!! Thanks for having the courage to share yours with us! I'm catching up, since I've been away for a few days and won't offer any comments... You'll find this to be a wonderful place to paint and learn!!!