View Full Version : Abandoned Please C & C

03-08-2014, 03:06 PM
Hello Everyone, I would like to ask your help again. This picture Abandoned is acrylic on canvas 16" x 20". This picture took off by itself. It was not what I had envisioned. I do have to admit the colder weather and arthritis has made it a little hard to paint, but not stopping me. I sure do appreciate anyone who could make comments. Thanks

Charlie's Mum
03-08-2014, 04:54 PM
Hi Susan - I think it would be easier for us if you said which areas you were having some problems with, if you're having them! :)

As I see it, I like the painting of the fence and I like the colouring in the foreground - rather mysterious. The tree is good too.
But - your title is 'Abandoned' which suggests your main area of interest should be the old barn and its dereliction. My eye goes straight to the sky - and the bright light at the top!
I would suggest you need to make much more of the barn itself - give us more idea of what's happening there, what's left of wood and metal and broken windows perhaps - fill more of the canvas with it!
I think also, you might consider what's happening to the land - the earth seems to end suddenly not far away, and we could all fall off if we walk past the barn!:)
This is just a suggestion, but if you cover up most of the sky to the top of the tree, the composition suddenly becomes much more focussed on the barn.:)

03-09-2014, 02:26 PM
Thanks Maureen. When I started the painting, I was trying for that forlorn look with an interesting sky. As I painted, the painting took on it's own character
and left me behind. I agree that as it turned out, the horizon needs to be brought up on the canvas and the house enlarged. Thanks again for your help.

doctoring in arts
03-09-2014, 03:01 PM
first of all kudos for painting something just from your imagination. I really like the tree and the fence... Maureen has given some excellent suggestions..

03-09-2014, 03:20 PM
Susan, I think it's great, the idea you are going for. The house looks like it is huddling against the emptiness of its environment, almost in the fetal position! It really is a powerful feeling that comes through, but yes, the sky, and then the tree, seem to get the most attention.

Filmmakers could use this as the establishing shot in a movie. But they have a luxury that we don't as painters - they can move the camera in and get more of a close-up immediately and further set forth the atmosphere. We must do all that in just 1 image, whereas they can do that in several images, one right after another - as can comics artists, who use multiple images to guide the viewer through the "story" they are telling. We only have 1 image in which to tell the whole story.

I think you are on the right track in telling a story. The house looks isolated. How about doing varying sketches on this theme, with ways to put the accent on the house more (make it bigger as Maureen suggested), or keep your dramatic sky, just tone it down a bit so the house will then stand out more (through contrast), and move the tree away from the house to further clarify its isolation. Or if not, let an overall color theme do the work, and have the tree less bright and green.

Maybe the picture took off by itself, but your ideas are coming through very well, I think. Perhaps you should think of this as a work in progress. If you happen to see any films on TV, look at what they do to get the atmosphere of an abandoned building in a scene or generally, a sense of foreboding. The answer might lie in unified color design and contrast. (In film, they do that with lighting, we must do it with paint). Of course, they have a whole team of artists to accomplish what they are doing, but you can learn from their general design efforts in using color and contrast to create an atmosphere for an emotional response.

It might help you to have one very big element, and one very small element. So if it were a REALLY big sky, with a very small house near the bottom, it would be quite powerful - the oppression of nature upon this poor creature, the house! (You are close to that now, I think.) Or if you want to make the house bigger, with much less sky, then it would cause curiosity in the viewer - Wonder who lived there? Wonder what it looked like before?

But the storm is approaching, then - as evidenced by the blue of the sky at the right. Good idea for movement in telling your story.
The only other thing is that dirt path the road is leading our eye out of the picture, toward the bottom, where we just drop off. It could be broken up, to zig-zag or something to make it seem less like a vertical drop for the viewer.

Good luck, I think you are on a fine track; this is an expressive painting, it just needs some visualization to improve the effect you are going for. Maybe post your painting in the Composition forum and see what they say? I think they could help.


03-09-2014, 06:34 PM
Susan, I looked online to try to find a painter who has done what you are trying to do. You might be interested in checking out via Google - William Keith (1838 1911), who painted landscapes in the San Francisco area, particularly his paintings (1880) "Approaching Storm" and (1896) "Discovery of San Francisco Bay". He used very active, large skies, but he let contrast, tone and controlling-color design pull the viewer's attention to the subjects. They are very powerful and atmospheric paintings; maybe he is a kindred spirit whose example can inspire you.

chammi kaiser
03-10-2014, 06:53 AM
Subi , there is a lovely feeling of mystery and intrigue in this and I think it is great that you did this from your imagination. Very creative. You have had some good advice. By the way I love the colours you have used. Keep them coming and enjoy yourself.

03-10-2014, 11:48 AM
Great idea...but...
I thought the tree rather overpowered the barn/house. Melancholy is often presented as Fall or Winter. The green leaves on the tree gave a mixed message of renewal and recycling man's puny efforts back to the Earth from whence it came.

The lightning is distracting to the COI. It overwhelms the eye...but...it is well painted, I might not have added that as a visual element.

Good idea, good concept. May I suggest you draw this out on newsprint full-size with several variations and then decide which might work for you.

and then share with us again!


03-10-2014, 01:04 PM
Thank you, thank you everyone for you encouragement and help. I am too far away from any art group, so this is so very helpful...

Cathy - I looked up William Keith, and found his paintings to be powerful. I will need to study them to see how he does it. Thanks

Greggo -Thank you for your suggestion about the newsprint. That would be so helpful to have the drawing painting size. Somehow or another, my sketching of a painting never translates correctly to the canvas.