View Full Version : A Sunset Called Lisa

06-27-2012, 09:56 PM

Title: A Sunset Called Lisa
Year Created:
Medium: Watercolor
Surface: Watercolor Paper
Dimension: 18 x 14 approx
Allow digital alterations?: Yes!

Painted from a photo, I have not been completely happy with the outcome of this one.

Any suggestions, critique or advice on colour, comp etc. welcome. Being watercolour, I can't remove the tree unless I crop it, and the photo didn't show much detail or colour on the boats. =)) Cheers. Debs.

06-27-2012, 10:20 PM
Lovely! You've captured the sunset colors in the sky and water in a soft way that makes a relaxing, beautiful painting. The trees do not both me because they are subdued and blend in. Thanks for sharing!

06-28-2012, 07:19 AM
The first thing I notice about this, Deb, is that with watercolors, you have absolutely nailed the boats and water. The wave forms and reflection treatments are wonderful. Then I think about the rule that if an element doesn't artistically contribute to the painting, it should not be there. The job of the artist is to simplify. So I'd like to initially get rid of the huge, black mass of the tree trunk. It absolutely pulls the eye left, away from the boats and why? It's not particularly interesting. This leaves the leaves (so to speak). They're not necessarily adding to the composition either, as I see it, but they're much less of a problem than is the trunk. Next, I think that the sunset colors are not quite working. You've got four horizontal stripes of red rising up in the sky and this does not quite set up the gradiant that is normally seen in a sunset. The reflection is dominated by strong orange/red in the foreground and this hue doesn't key to anything in the sky. So...what's the painting about? I think it's about a wonderful, peaceful scene of boats in a cove on a windless morning. Strong hues of a sunset (or rise) are not needed unless they're really done in an interesting way and I think you've missed the boat (ha, ha) somewhat in applying the colors. Often muted colors work better that intense ones anyway so long as you have a full range of values as you absolutely do. To illustrate my suggestions, I attach a photoshop which drops the trunk and quiets all those reds. Do you like it better?


06-28-2012, 07:54 AM
Thanks Aires and Bob, it is a lovely scene to paint and I agree that I should quieten the reds in the foreground particularly! I may have added too much yellow to the sky so I could mute that a bit too. I don't think I can get rid of the tree, unless I crop it which I may do. I thought it would frame the scene but it is very dark. I think I would attempt this one again maybe in oils or acrylics and may be happier with the result. I appreciate your suggestions and encouragement and will play with this one a little more. Thank you both so much an thanks Bob for going to the trouble to show me how I may improve it. Cheers and as always... keep smiling. =)) Debs. p.s. Bob, I do like yours better!!! =))

06-28-2012, 01:34 PM
Very nice Debzy. I do like the dark tree trunk. It does frame the important elements of the painting. I wonder about the appearence of the boats, particularly the reflection that seems to just be outlined in black. You have captured their form so well, but they just look like they are ooutline. Not being a water colorist, I don't know if there is a better way to get rid to that feature

06-29-2012, 02:39 AM
love boats! well done ma'am

06-29-2012, 07:17 AM
I also woiuld like the tree to stay. Some of the boats could do with a real spalsh of colour (which will show in their reflections) and I think some of that darker water to the left from the large boat could be scrubbed out.
Love the tranquility of the scene --- reminds me of Middle Harbour

06-29-2012, 11:54 AM
Thank you all for your encouragement and input, I have had a tricky time with this one and I appreciate all you have suggested. I agree the boats need a little something more, the photo didn't show much detail or colour as it was early evening. I could add some colour and remove some of the dark outlines, also lighten the water slightly, I will give it a shot, nothing to lose. Thank you again and I will post the next instalment soon. Thanks and cheers =)) Debs. :crossfingers: :D

07-07-2012, 02:41 AM
I softened the water at the very close foreground, I softened the streaks of colour in the sky, I added a little more to the foliage and I tried to take away the dark outlines on the boats. What do you think??? Cheers Debs. =))

07-07-2012, 04:34 AM
Very believable, nice finish Deb

07-07-2012, 10:35 AM
Thank you very much for your response Andrew, I am always pleased to hear from you. I have had enough of this one now and am quite pleased with the result. I'm sure in a frame it will look ok, it's quite a large work. Keep smiling and thanks again. Debs. =))

07-07-2012, 02:53 PM
I like the tree....if this were mine I would consider exploiting the effect of the dark tree by adding one or two more. Maybe try cutting the shapes from dark paper and experimenting with placement. Or leave it alone, it's lovely!

07-09-2012, 09:33 AM
Thanks Murphy, I am calling it finished now, but I have no doubt that I will try another from the same ref photo but attempt different effects soon. I like your idea and will put it with my list of advice for the next one. Thank you for your comment and for viewing my painting. Cheers and keep smiling Debs. =))