View Full Version : Venetian Door--2nd in a Series

05-16-2003, 05:44 AM
This is my first architectural watercolor--my second painting in my Venice Dying series--Sandro's Mask was the first.
Same photographer gave me permission to use his image as a reference. (I do not have permission to post ref photo.)

Please critique. Do I need to make the alleyway darker? Should I have more texture on the paving in the foreground? What about the irregular shadow on the left hand side of the wall--should it be deeper?

Thanks! All comments and critiques appreciated.

1/4 sheet 300 lb WN CP with WN paints


05-16-2003, 05:57 AM
Hi Lyn!

You asked for critique so here are some points to consider:

Contrast - the shadows could be a lot darker, esp if you want it to look like a bright sunny day
Texture in foreground is needed I think, just a little bit, spattering or salt perhaps
Shadows from the washing. The alleyway shadow shows the light coming from top left, yet no shadows for the clothes falling to their bottom left.
Door is very central - left side crop?

I like the orangy colour you used and the contrast with the purple shadows. It's a charming scene, and the textured wall is great.

05-16-2003, 06:48 AM
I agree! Darker!!! It looks like you have a very fine painting started. Looking forward to seeing the the finished post.

Kate Mc
05-16-2003, 07:00 AM
Hi, Lyn,

This is a great start. I have two things to add to what's been said above:

First, I'd put more contrast into the center of interest--which for me is the open door. That's where the darkest darks and the lightest lights should be to draw the eye in and make me want to walk right through that door to see what's inside.

Second, the shadows of the clothespins are darker than the shadows of the clothes!! They should all be pretty much the same tone--and maybe the same purple color as the other shadows. To me they look bluer.

This is great--darken up that door and let us see it!

Kate, sitting with my cup of tea and waiting patiently....

05-16-2003, 07:18 AM
Lyn, it's going to be great... I knew you'd get some good advice here... and I definitely need new glasses... Is that an OPEN doorway? LOL I was looking for a latch!! LOL I really like the pallette you chose and the brickwork is phenomenal...

[edit]... I think maybe a laundry basket or a terra cotta pot near the door would add interest... I suspect that you want to keep the composition minimal, so you can ignore this suggestion...

05-16-2003, 07:34 AM
OOPS...can't edit my post now. When I mentioned the clothes not casting shadows, I thought that the blue shadows were another line of clothes. :) I should look more closely eh. Anyway, perhaps make those shadows darker and more purple so that they read as shadows?

Like CharM's idea of a terracotta pot, maybe it's too late though.

05-16-2003, 09:18 AM
Thanks, all, for looking and commenting!

Coffee girl--thank you for your very thorough critique. Re: your second post, I figured that's what you thought in the first post! LOL I'm glad you like the colors--they are my favorites!

mpopinz--thanks--darker it will be!

Kate, I hope you have a BIG pot of tea--this may take a while! TY for suggestions!

Char, I'll think on it! LOL

05-16-2003, 09:20 AM
ciao Lyn!
it's beautiful, i can catch a feeling of venice in it...
i agree that it needs more contrasts, but not too much!
you choose colors that go very well together.

i like to see how many paintings on italy!:) :) proud to be italian ;)

ùciao, rapolina.

05-16-2003, 09:30 AM
Rapolina, thanks for looking and commenting! If you can feel Venice in it, then I am succeeding with MY vision! Yes, there will be more contrasts, but not too much (I hope!) LOL

05-16-2003, 03:15 PM

Darks Nag is here

It is well done, I like the atmosphere and I love the laundry!

You have to PUMP up the comtrast, Lyn

look at the grayscale:


and look at the Auto level correction:


You probably don't want to make it THAT PURPLE (can't believe I said that0

But it certainly would benefit from darker values....

05-16-2003, 07:12 PM
Originally posted by pampe

You probably don't want to make it THAT PURPLE (can't believe I said that0...

Pam, thanks for looking and commenting! I can't believe you said that either!!! ROFLOL but I know what you mean--more dark, but not necessarily more purple--right?

I enjoyed painting the laundry!:D

05-16-2003, 07:45 PM
Originally posted by artmom

--more dark, but not necessarily more purple--right?

yup, exactly

05-16-2003, 07:55 PM
Agree that more contrast and darks would help....nice one though.....:)

Strawberry Wine
05-16-2003, 08:25 PM
Hi Lyn: You have been given some good advice and I like what you have done so far.

I would like to see a lot more dark in the alley, that liltle triangle where the wall meets the alley on the right hand side.

Waiting and watching


05-16-2003, 08:32 PM
Tag and Gail, thanks for looking and commenting. More darks coming up!

Pam, thanks for stopping by again! LOL

lyn lynch
05-17-2003, 01:54 AM
I am confused about the washline because neither relate to each other or to the scene. If the "blue" wash is intended to be the cast reflection, it is much to low in value, as it its clothesline and pins. If the "white" is the actual wash, I see where more high value color bits could be added to the shadow areas. Actually, I am concerned about the entire positioning of the clothesline: in its current position at the frame top I would like to see low values to stop the eye from going out of the scene.

The open doorway reads as "open", and I see you have value changes in there,which would benefit by more contrast in low key. I could suggest at the floor start with an orange red, like BS, fading back toward the corner of the room. Do the same on the doorway, following what you have established. I don’t think you need big value contrasts inside the room, just want to suggest the room. The white bits in there are OK, but once you have worked in the color like BS, you could perhaps give everything an overall wash of a transparent neutral, like Raw Seinna.

A cast shadow, I think, reads darkest [lowest value] where nearest to the object it is casting. The further from the object being casted, the lighter [higher value] the shadow is. It looses strength as it moves away from the object. Thus, if the shadow you show as purple is reflecting, say, another building, it is too dark in value on your work. The darkest value would be at the extreme left fading [gradulating] into lightest at the extreme right. I like the ragged and tight edge of your cast shadow, though, it is more interesting to me.

It is fine to use violet as your right wall, but the overall value of it doesn‘t read correct to me. Likewise, the stripe of purple blocks on the bottom and the same repeat and same values just a bit above, with nothing in between or above the second row. This looks like unfinished, and I don’t think you need any of it. I like to see some of that washed out leaving just some bits and pieces of the violet. Lift w/water and blot w/tissue. Let dry completely, or use your hairdryer—don’t touch it until completely dry. This includes the sharp floor shadow. You might use your RS to put in some shadowingw with maybe some UMB uneven glazing for dark areas.

If you work on the inside of the room, I don’t think you need to do anything to the front of the main building façade, although you might want to add just an uneven wash of the UMB.

I like to see something live in here. A potted plant in terracotta, mix the green spikey leaves from your RS or BS and the UMB and your Cerulean, perhaps. But nothing too dark to detract from your doorway. This could even be scaled to fit along the purple wall and break up that intersection.

On the foreground I think if it doesn’t have splattering it is cake, enough said. Also, I can see a crop here leaving about 1" from the doorway, judging on the scan, not the original. PS I like the chickens in the front w/some feed splattered and the foreground uncropped.

So, keep going, getting there, just not done. I like it!! But, of Boy, who I think I am to assess your work. LOL, easier than painting it myself, and more fun.

BTW: any and all, please feel free to contradict any and all I have recommended to OL, I like to learn [or unlearn] too.

05-17-2003, 06:48 AM
Fookie-Lyn, Thank you so much for your very interesting and thorough critique of my work! I appreciate you taking the time to do such an extensive evaluation.

Several folk have mentioned the "open" door--I didn't intend for it to look like it was open! LOL

Spattering in the foreground! I had forgotten that technique, I used it all the time in my oil paintings 20 years ago.:D

I am going to ponder all of the recommendations I have received from all of you, turn the painting face to the wall for a few days, and then work on it some more, incorporating what I feel will enhance the vision I have in my head.

Thanks again, everyone, for taking the time to teach and to comment!:D

05-17-2003, 07:23 AM
Loads of advice here, so I am just going to cheer you on - Go Lyn Go!!!!!

Little Old Lady
05-17-2003, 08:33 AM
I agree that you need to ponder all the advice and take what you feel is right. Great start and I won't burden you with any more suggestions.

05-17-2003, 01:11 PM
Uschi and JoAnn, thanks for looking and commenting! It's great to have support when struggling to learn.:)

05-17-2003, 03:51 PM
Howdy, Artmom! I nearly missed this one - turned my back for a moment or so.

I think you've really captured a "Venetian" feel with the palette. You've gotten some excellent advice from the gang. I'm anxious to see how this one evolves.

Such a unique series you have going here.


05-17-2003, 04:50 PM
Thanks, Erin! I'm enjoying painting the Venetian images. When I went to Italy, I didn't make it that far north. However, one of my oldest friends has told me all about Venice and when I paint these, I think of her!