View Full Version : Scottish Lake - Comments, Please

11-06-2013, 11:19 AM
This is my watercolor of Loch Leven (in Scottish Highlands) at sunset. (My painting is a bit darker than the photo shows.) I have also attached my reference photo. What bothers you the most? What improvements would you suggest? Thanks so much.http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Nov-2013/197907-7831_Fix_up.jpghttp://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Nov-2013/197907-Loch_Leven_-_8_x_10.jpg

11-06-2013, 12:20 PM
You did a good job on this. The only thing I notice is a lack of contrast as in the photo - lighter lights and darker darks. Also, the rocks or seaweed at the edge of the water is sharper in the photo. That's great if it's the way you planned, though.

11-06-2013, 12:59 PM
Sandy -
Thanks for your comments. You're right: my paintings contrasts are not as great as the photo's. My sky also looks grainier (not as clear as the photo's).

I struggled with the foreground. There are rocks, grasses and lichen in the lake foreground. I left them out - thinking that this foreground detail may detract from the lake.

11-06-2013, 01:40 PM
Hi Jill,

I think this is a good job.As I have just learnt with a flower painting,sometimes these fantastic colours can be difficult to recreate and by trying to, we can make a rod for our back.If you were going to try it again what about making the four mountain peaks light/cold bluer to help separate from the land in front? And just be careful with the blue of the sea and the reflections to the right,the sea drops a bit from the horizontal.But you have captured the mood of this nice scene very well

11-06-2013, 02:14 PM
Larry -
Yes, I definitely plan to paint this again. I will use your advice about making the mountains a colder blue than the foreground -> good point. And you're right, too, about the right sea dropping a bit from the horizontal. Thanks for your help.

11-06-2013, 06:56 PM
I wouldn't use the photo to determine the range of colours, here. I think the photo itself doesn't have enough dynamic range and probably wouldn't look that great as a print.

That said, I do very much like the painting that's resulted from it. I spend too much time feeling attached to what's in the source photo, and not enough time being expressive in my paintings -- I'm working on that, becoming looser, faster, etc., but it's still hard.

I would also like to see lighter lights and darker darks, but also warmer warms, and cooler cools. I agree the distant mountains would do better with paler blue to violet shading.

Even so, I think this is a good painting.

11-06-2013, 07:41 PM
Tamara -
Thanks for your advice. I especially like the part about "warmer warms, and cooler cools". This gives me lots of food for thought for my re-do.

11-07-2013, 12:13 AM
Jill--Such a lovely peaceful photo! You must have had a wonderful vacation in Scotland! I LOVE sunsets and sunrises! :-) When I'm taking photos of them (cause I HAVE to! :-)), if I'm going to try to use it for a photo reference, I take two photos, (or even three) (Or 10!), whatever, but I try to take a photo of the whole area, because when I get back to the computer, it's what is just barely OUT of range that I want to see to add to the picture. In this case, it would be a bit more sky above, so when I crop it the horizon line will not be in the horizontal center of the picture.

I think I would crop off 1/2 of the bottom beach foreground. It's dark and there's not too much information there. (Right? The subject for me is the sky, lake and boats.)

But if I was wrong (and you ARE the artist! :-)) and the subject is the beach, too; that 3rd photo is always aimed just down from the sky, so the automatic camera finds all of the detail in lighter, more realistic color and detail. That one is not usually a "good" photo, but is just there for the information, for me later.

I'll show you. Advance warning: these photos are not that great, but just to show you what I mean about the photos. :-) (Please forgive me if you know this already. :-))

Dropping my grandkid off at school last week:


What it REALLY looked like. (See the same trees?) Taken at the very same time, (through the same chain link fence), I just aimed the camera down out of the sky so it averaged different light to take the shot:


The bigger picture:


I think you should paint the Scotland lake again! :-) (I'm such a great critic. But you should see the one I really SHOULD burn that I'm fiddling over now! I have just a few more lessons to learn on it before I throw it out!)

Also, I really like the way your sky's wet and wet moved into the clouds at the top! Lovely!

11-07-2013, 08:34 AM
You nailed exactly what (one of the many) I am struggling with. When I re-paint I will take your advice and crop off most of the bottom beach foreground. Luckily I have a photo of The Big Scene, which I cropped it to paint my first watercolor. So I can use that to re-crop. Thanks so much for the advice (and your humor). Your pictures helped me understand, too. What a wonderful, helpful group of artists this group is!

11-07-2013, 09:08 AM
Nice scene, gorgeous sunset. I think you did a fine job on it; you have received some good advice.