View Full Version : Golden Light C&C please

10-13-2013, 06:21 AM
I've got the chance to display some work at a charity show in November. The organisers particularly like my landscapes apparently :eek:

I have a few already but thought I'd like to make it an Autumn theme so yesterday I did this one from my own reference taken locally. I like it but just wondering if there's something I can do to give it more impact? Any ideas?

Its' about 8x12" on re-claimed Canson touch with mainly Giraults (Giraults and C touch go well together I have found).


10-13-2013, 03:01 PM
good for you , and the invite/kudos ! :)

on my screen , the warm ochres/oranges/browns work well against the warm sky .

my read is of an afternoon sun behind the artist/viewer .
- with that in mind ,
the reason for the straight diagonal of an apparent foreground shadow is a total puzzlement ,
but , to your credit , it is a warm shadow . :thumbsup:

i pulled the window around to find a quick crop , thinking that there may be time constraints ,
and a vertical split at centerline to use the right side makes sense to me .
the verge of the road would need just a bit of adjustment .

don't know if you already have a frame awaiting the painting ...


10-13-2013, 04:30 PM
This is very lovely, Ruth, I really like the warm palette. The only thing I notice is that it looks like the horizon line is tipping off down to the left. Might just be the photo.

Nice work!

10-13-2013, 06:55 PM
I would pick the area with the tallest tree on the right (tree closest to center of painting) and make this area the focal point of the painting. I would really pop the color on the side the sun is hitting and pop anything around it. I think you really need a focal point and some highlights against more darks. I am not talking from talent but "channeling" my pastel teacher. Consider moving the path closer towards the focal point and again, consider ways to make it pop near the focal point. Would there be any shadows from trees? Hope this helps. Your talent exceeds mine but I know what my teacher would have me do. Pam

p.s. just tried cropping it - I like it with a good portion of the bottom cropped off.

10-13-2013, 07:42 PM
Me again....so sorry to be a pest but I noticed in the foreground that the shaded area shape is the same as the highlighted area just the shape reversed. Maybe just the little bit of cropping may help. Pam:wave:

10-13-2013, 09:38 PM
Ruth, this is beautiful and I love the warm sunniness of it. I can feel the sun on my face and I love feeling the sun on my face! :)
One question I would ask is "what is the focal point?" and like Pam, I am channeling my pastel teacher and have heard this question far too many times (you would think I'd have learned by now). These are just ramblings of a newbie's mind, but you were so kind to me, I wanted to respond. I did laugh when I read about the cropping. In my class we say that everything can be helped by "magic cropping". There is always a great 2x2 hidden inside any painting..hahaha

10-13-2013, 11:34 PM
I like it.
Recently a few artists have been saying you don't always have to have a focal point, a pleasant scene can be the main thing.

One thing to pop it a bit, maybe some deep darks (purples/blues etc) along the base of the field edges and under brush areas - light against dark for impact?

Maybe a bit of trunk & branches leaning inward on that left tree..it just doesn't look quite right with branches only..

10-14-2013, 01:53 AM
Wonderful light !

10-14-2013, 07:13 AM
Ed, thanks for your thoughts! Actually the sun is low and off to the right/behind the viewer. The shadow is created by a small wood in the field about 100 yards away. I guess I'm used to it. It's great to walk out of that shadow into the warmer sunlight! I do have frames to fit the current 12x8 format. Cropping it in half would make it very small.

Randy, thanks! Well, I did slope the horizon a little on purpose, the far field does have a slight gradient, though mostly round here the landscape is pretty flat!

Pam, thank you! I know about creating focal points but was thinking maybe this didn't really need one. I hoped the eye would take it in and move round the whole painting. I have taken your advice though and, hopefully created a focal area. I've also curved the path a little. I didn't notice those two shapes, you are so right! That's the old left brain thing I think. I don't want to crop it, see above, and I like the shadow, but I think I may extend it a little, or increase the sunny area.

Peg, thanks for commenting! See my reply to Pam about a focal point. A 2x2 crop, hmm, what about something like this?
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Oct-2013/189061-golden2_-_Copy.jpg :D :D Hmm, maybe not!

tj84, thanks for looking! I agree one doesn't always need a focal point. The difficult thing is to decide whether or not a painting needs one......

Thank you Toniov!

I've made some changes and will go back and think about un-equalizing that split between shadow and sunlit field. Meantime here's where I've got to. I can't seem to get a decent photo of this one. It looks much better IRL.


10-14-2013, 07:50 AM
And I hope you don't mind....here's another I did yesterday and finished (?) today. Same size. This is the other side of those trees on the track. C&C welcome!


10-14-2013, 09:16 AM
I like this much better....there is more going on, beautiful !!!


10-14-2013, 09:19 AM
The first one was nice, this one is GREAT!!

10-14-2013, 09:38 AM
I do like the golden palette! A few dark shapes and some small touches of descriptive texture in the field (especially at the shadow edge) and possibly a greater difference of trunk color in the first would be nice- the second is more effective in those directions.

10-14-2013, 12:11 PM
. . . . Recently a few artists have been saying you don't always have to have a focal point, a pleasant scene can be the main thing...
I (very respectfully! :thumbsup: ) disagree with Joy here. When there is no focal point, no goal for my attention, my response to a piece goes from annoyance to boredom in a matter of seconds, very quickly. Your pallete choice in the first piece is lovely. (And the sky is outstanding.) But I want to feel more than just that "pleasant scene" drone. I want you to make me have a reason to stay. I want a real buzz.

Your second piece is, on the other hand, quite great. The focal point is pretty conventional but your execution makes it work. You are keeping me in the picture -- I want to stay and find out what's back there!

Maybe this all merely indicates my naviete (and rigidity of thinking) with regard to art appreciation, but there it is.


PS -- One of the great things about WC is the vast range in expertise that you can find. If you need to see the stark difference between landscape pieces with and without focal points, hang out for a while in the Landscape Forum. Very revealing, very instructive, imo. ---- http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?s=&forumid=31

10-14-2013, 12:50 PM
Ruth, I like that you curved the path in the "redo" of your first painting, draws me in. But the second...AWESOME. It has that same warmth that is so appealing to me, but it seems to be more alive. (maybe the absence of so many straight edges?) I mean, I really want to go down that road. It is spectacular.
Love your cropping...hahaha...see, always a perfect 2x2, no matter how large the original :)

10-14-2013, 04:45 PM
Like changes to first and the second is outstanding. The issue may not be a "focal point" issue, but instead just something that makes the painting interesting. Pam

10-15-2013, 04:08 AM
I think the colours you have used are totally gorgeous, in both pics. But the first one worries me in terms of composition.

Seems to me it is "about" a lovely sense of space in the landscape. But you have two halves which have no relationship with each other. The top half is a series of rectangles, with the "tree areas" behaving like book ends, to pincer the sky square, while the bottom half is divided into two large triangles.


That sky area is rather empty and it is a boring square. You could do something interesting with wheeling birds, which could perhaps echo some of the other shapes in the picture?

alternatively you could consider some other compositional ideas, based on your main reason for the picture -tall golden trees, for example, could perhaps be better expressed like this:


or maybe this but I would still worry that the trees and sky area split 50/50


Your second image is masterful. It will sell immediately, I'm sure!!!

10-15-2013, 07:23 AM
The second is fantastic! There is a lot of sweetness in your work and the harmony of colors is completed.

10-15-2013, 09:48 AM
Jackie's cropping the left tree makes the first image better because that little bit of eye stopper tree doesn't offer much to the piece. If, instead of a little useless bit, you turned that into a mass of full trees going right off the top (darker tones), it would add some depth to the piece looking to the back and automatically brighten the trees mass in back. Adding more pop/glow to the back golden mass to punch it up a bit (previously mentioned) adds to the focal area. Creating more randomness of leaf mass in the large golden back tree would help as well. Changing the foreground shadow shapes (you've added a front mass of trees) would change the foreground triangle shape Jackie mentioned. What doesn't change with all of this is the middle area (as Jackie mentioned) where there is little depth as the few overlapping areas are so similar in height and shape (basically horizontal rectangles). The colours are beautiful and I think you can pull this off with a little more work and a few more planes/variety of shape.

The second is wonderful ... IMO it has what the other lacks compositionally.

edit: did you not paint a farmer driving a wonderful little tractor? Is something like that appropriate here?

10-15-2013, 10:02 AM
Well, I like the first one, but I LOVE the second painting, oh my! Good job, Ruthie!

10-15-2013, 12:07 PM
Thank you Barbara and Apodemus!

Ken, thanks for looking and advising!

Jan, thanks for your input! I do believe that a landscape painting without a focal point can work. There are other ways of introducing the wow factor. As a general rule though I guess it's best to consider having one. In my first one the focal point is the first tree on the RH side and the path leading to (near) it. It's just not convincing enough and I now realise the main problem is with the general composition (see Jackie's post).

Peg, thank you! I'm glad you like the second one.

Thank you Pam!

Jackie, thanks so much! What I could say is that I purposely posted this to get people seeing composition issues :lol: but, unfortunately, that is not the case :o You are so right and I don't know what I was thinking.....I did a thumbnail but the shapes shifted some in the actual painting......
And I'm so glad to hear you say that about the second one!

Toniov, thank you!

Nell, thanks for taking so much time to make suggestions! I really appreciate it. I won't be going back to the first one now. I'd have to brush off as the tooth (canson touch) is pretty full. Your ideas are good, although I don't think a big tree would sit well in the middle of a field. Yes I did one with a tractor. Hmm, that's a thought for another one maybe :thumbsup:

Thanks FaeLynn!

I have a frame ready for the second one.......

10-16-2013, 05:17 AM
Ruth, sometimes a thumbnail sketch, when blown up, only then reveals its weaknesses. Something happens when we convert small shapes to large shapes on a much bigger surface.

Gradually, you will start to become suspicious about the shapes within your thumbnail rectangle, and will see when there is a lurking potential problem. Sometimes, it is nothing more than a sneaky suspicion that THAT area might give you a problem, your eye goes back to it again and again. But often, we push the suspicion aside, hoping to be able to resolve it in the big picture.

error. It just gets worse, not better.

But even then, sometimes a problem subject creeps up on us by surprise. Do not worry about it, it happens to all of us!

10-16-2013, 03:21 PM
Thanks Jackie! Having got used to doing thumbnails now I must start to analyse them........

10-16-2013, 04:21 PM
hmmm ...
on a fresh look , and as to the tree on our left ;
the ochre/orange marks of the foliage appear to have a similar size/mass to the group on our right ,
but ,
the many skyholes distinguish it as one tree =
a closer plane in the picture and support for the perspective lines of the cut field ...
if there was more of the tree to see ...

an image of coming from a close space to an open space ,
and vice versa ,
is very potent , and challenging ,
especially when it's not so obvious ... :D


10-16-2013, 04:38 PM
Both lovely paintings.

10-16-2013, 08:37 PM
Love the second painting, and the colours in the first, but it does seem a bit empty to me.

10-17-2013, 02:17 PM
Ed, thanks again for your thoughts! You've lost me now though and that one is waiting to be brushed off!

Thanks Mark!

Elle, thank you!

10-17-2013, 03:51 PM
I like all 3 of these, the golden tones remind me of wheat belt country.

10-18-2013, 06:47 AM
Thanks Elle! There are only two though......

10-18-2013, 06:58 AM
Your changes really worked on the first one, it was a big improvement with the gap in the foliage. Wow. I love the second one, it's finite perfection, don't you mess with it!

I agree with Jackie about the crops and the balance of the rectangles. Very glad she showed me what it was that was bugging me. My intuitive, un-analyzed solution wasn't cropping but I was going to suggest putting another element in that evenly spaced gap to break it up, maybe a mid-dark shrub or flowering weed almost the size of the shrub in the rectangle about a third of the way from the cut-off tree on the left. Or maybe even a sapling. Just something. A broken off last fence post. A stump.

Something that gets attention but sits in its plane of distance and importance, not so strong that it draws attention away from the focal point. Maybe something that'd help point toward it. An animal crossing the field would become the focal point and change the balance, turning that area with the view of the distance into a background-frame for the animal - say a dog romping across the field. Which might not be a bad thing with the trees on the right as a secondary focus.

Eh, your call, it's more that my composition solutions are usually additive rather than cropping. Do something to break up the dullness of that rectangle gap, is what I'm saying, while Jackie is saying "Cut it off." If you add something into it, you keep the beautiful sense of distance and depth it has, which I liked. But her last crop does too. Crows picking over the field might be amusing.

10-20-2013, 12:08 PM
Robert, sorry, I missed your reply until now. Thanks a lot for your thoughts! That shows there is always an alternative. I like the idea of a bush or small tree to break up that sky space. I'll certainly look at that. And maybe my dog running across the field. He does it often enough!
Thanks a lot for the ideas!

10-21-2013, 08:52 AM
I like them both but personally I think the 2nd one is much stronger. A more interesting view and has more interesting shapes and dark to light contrast areas are more interestingly broken up. Agree with Jackie's thoughts on the 1st one. Nice to see how she broke up the shapes, useful.

10-21-2013, 01:17 PM
Allison, thanks! Yep there's no doubt the second one is stronger....and it was easier too. Subject matter plays a great part I think.