View Full Version : A Quandry for you

06-02-2003, 03:20 PM
Here is another one of my "What should I do" pictures. I like the overall composition. I used my Aunt's garden..and mirrored the composition like the Monet work. But.....I am not sure about the flowers. I think they should change in color as your eye moves to the right...but I'm not sure. Also...there seems to be a problem with the light source, as far as the flowers are concerned. It is on Canson paper...and I don't know how many more layers I can fit on the paper.

What would be your suggestions?

Here it is: pastel on Canson...16 x 20, Nupastels, Rembrandts.


Thank you for all your help!!


06-02-2003, 04:16 PM
I'm not sure what to recommend - it definitely needs something.

Nice paintings (colors strokes, ect but the composition is in a bit of quandry like you explained.

Best of luck.


06-03-2003, 03:00 AM
Just a couple of suggestions, Nancymae...

Try blurring some of the flowers on the right-hand side. The entire border is in the same focus and the eye doesn't know where to stop.

You might try blurring a few of the ones on the left as well, and leave a section in focus sort of just off-center .

Those tall blue flowers are spaced very evenly. It might help if you removed some, or added a couple to make the spaces between them different sizes.

I hope this is clearer than mud, and I hope it helps. Feel free to ignore me if it doesn't ring true. It's going to be a really pretty picture.

06-03-2003, 03:21 AM
I think what it's missing is just a l'il darkening of the flowers as they recede toward the right, to give the impression (impression, monet, get it? I kill me LOL) that they are getting more distant from you.

Or, I also like angecald's suggestion of blurring the more distant flowers on the right. Seems like both ideas are the same in intent, to create the illusion of depth.

But I like the idea, and the painting :)

- Greg

06-03-2003, 04:23 AM
Here are my thoughts about this one.

You have a difficult composition - turn the picture upside down and look at it. You will see that you have a coloured strip right across the rectangle, which divides the image into three sections, none of which relates (in terms of shapes) particularly well to the other. "frieze"-type compositions can work - but this one doesn't, because your central coloured strip shoots us from left to right, with no stops, almost like a railway line.

You get little sense of recession either, beause there is little change of scale in the flowers in the border.

Have a look at my scribbled thumbnail, which you may (or may not) feel is an improvement on your composition. See how the scale of the flowers changes dramatically, and the flowerborder is a more important, and more comfortable, shape within the rectangle. The top section is simplified to ensure that it is less important than the border (I darkened the ground behind the border, and generally reduced the contrasts of light and dark in that area, leaving the border to read as a lighter area in front of a darker area), and the border shape is MUCH more dramatic and more interesting, I believe, as a result of plenty of change of scale.


Some might argue that the composition now splits into two halves, and I am inclined to agree .........in fact, looking again, I think I would reduce the width of the top half and make the rectangle a different shape - less tall. Not by a lot - just a smidgen off the top. ( See the reddish dotted line.)
I would not lose the windows and the tree - those verticals are quite helpful, as they echo the vertical blue flowers in the border (I grew a few more for you!that's the great thing about doing a painting, rather than taking a photo. ) I find that doing a thumbnail BEFORE I tackle the painting, helps to resolve many of the problems of composition as it is easier to change the thumbnail to see what works best, than it is to resolve the problems when the picture is finished! However, doing a thumbnail at this stage can also be useful.


06-03-2003, 04:43 AM
He! Jackie's back! We've missed you around here.
I agree with Jackie's advice. The flower bed needs perspective. I do think that's all that's missing and when you've fixed that, you have a great painting.

06-04-2003, 03:28 PM
Thanks to everyone for their comments. I do agree with the softening of the flowers...but I wasn't sure whether to do it with color or bluring. What the heck....I will try both!!!

Jackie...your thumbnail was RIGHT ON THE MONEY!! I can see how dramatic and dynamic the picture is now. I think I will try and redo this painting...and incorporate the changes. I do work out thumbnail sketches, but I really don't know if they are any good or not....I guess I don't know what the problems are in my paintings...or sketches...just that there ARE problems.

So....what would you all recommend me doing??? Are their any books on this type of thing??? I have books on composition, but I guess I don't apply the techniques. Are their questions I should ask myself? I did want the flowers to be my center of focus...but maybe I should have only a few as a center.

Still in Quandry land...


06-04-2003, 08:07 PM
There are books on composition which are quite good.........but you need to go at this subject quite slowly. It takes a while to understand good composition and to apply it to your work. There is a delay between brain and hand! Don't worry, you will sort it out slowly. Keep on reading those books, and with each picture you do, try to incorporate one composition "idea" at a time.

Some basic things which are really useful to learn about are:

5. THE UNDERLYING GEOMETRY OF A PICTURE -RHYTHMS AND MOVEMENT - verticals/horizontals/curves/diagonals and how to use them effectively.

See if you can find these elements in your books, and then in each of your next 5 pics, try to concentrate on one aspect of composition.

That way, you will gradually become familiar with what to look out for.

06-04-2003, 08:26 PM
Or you could just buy Jackie's book which tackles all matters of painting with pastels.....Workbook......it's fab!:angel:
Your painting has some lovely colurs in it keep at it!

06-05-2003, 02:06 AM
Actually - tho Workbook is good for beginners to pastels, a better one would be PASTELS WORKSHOP which has a whole chapter on Composition which I think makes it clearer than most.
It is a good book, in that it contains the work of lots of pastellists, not just me, so you have plenty of inspiration. Anyone.......do let me know direct, if you would like either book.