View Full Version : red bird

07-27-2015, 05:25 AM

Title: red bird
Year Created:
Medium: Digital
Surface: Other
Dimension: na
Allow digital alterations?: Yes!

Im interested in criticism in regards to composition rather than digital technique (although I will be quite happy with any critique s you may care to give), this is a study rather than a finished piece.

Im trying to simplify and loosen up.

Love to hear your thoughts.

I need to work on my compositional skill set, any critiques and/or suggestions are welcome.

07-27-2015, 11:19 AM
nice painting. in terms of composition, i feel that the bird is too centrally located vertically.

Mark Szymanski
07-27-2015, 05:16 PM
I hope this doesn't sound too harsh... it isn't meant that way, but since you requested some critique on the composition, I am critiquing on that basis. It is only my interpretation, and others (and you) may disagree. Please understand I believe you're quite likely a wonderful and gifted artist simply looking for an honest critique. So please don't take this personally in any way.

Here we go...

Little unity of line. Lines going every which way. This draws the eye in many differing directions. The lines don't echo any other part of the picture. They lead nowhere in particular.

Parallel lines in the two main uprights as in two letter "T's" joined together. The combination gives several right angles, or nearly so, a right angle produces one of the strongest draws to vision you can make. It is a combination of lines which instantly rivets the attention. It is a hard combination, too strong and too powerful to be included within a picture of this sentiment.

Transitional line from left to right. The horizontal Transitional line from one side to the other is so powerful it should seldom be used unless it contains part of the subject, which it isn't.

Business of the background. If the attention is pinned with some force on the subject, one feels the interruption and annoyance of this unnecessary landscape. The with how chaotic the background is, the subject is being lost.

Lack of Gradation. Gradation is the perspective of shade. As a force of balance gradation may be used when added detail is unnecessary.
Balance-Lack of balance. The red is not balanced anywhere else in the painting. The red birds isolation has nothing to lead you from one side of the painting to the red bird. This small point in a distance from the viewer can be balanced by a larger mass on the other side of the painting. Balance is not of necessity dependent upon objects of attraction. Its essence lies in the movement from one part of the picture to another. The arrangement of items should compel your vision from one item to another giving you a suggestion of motion in a given direction.

Color- Background in the distance in uninteresting. Just a light dull gray. No gradation of color from front to back. Little gradation of color from shadow to light. No real color to the light source.

Shapes-Negative shapes all broken up into too small of pieces. Consider making the spaces between the branches as interesting as the branches themselves.

Variety- Little variety in almost any of the shapes. The branches are about the same width, most are similar in shape and size and color to others. Leaves are the same basic shape and color. Background haze is the same color across the painting. Variety exudes life.

I believe this work could be better balanced with a simpler plan to it. The bird is quite cute and I like the placement within the picture. It is simply surrounded by too much. If you adjust some of the shapes, you may find it easier to see.

I am including one possible workup based on the items above. It certainly is only quickly and roughly done, so don't base too much on it. I believe with more thought you can come up with something much better, but never-the-less, here is an illustration of some of the points....


I really like this bird in here. I can imagine looking out my upstairs window and seeing this bird singing in the tree.


07-27-2015, 06:10 PM
Thanks oldmanartist.

07-27-2015, 06:24 PM
Mark, thank you so very very much for your detailed critique.

don't worry about it being too harsh, I need guidance not a pat on on the back and I am a little bit emotional that you took the time to give detailed and incredibly helpful feedback, that was much more than I was hoping for.

Ok, this is loosely based on a photograph I took on a walk he other day, and the main thing that struck me about it was how lonely the bird felt, just this little speck surrounded by a chaotic tangle of branches, and this was really what I want to bring out in the painting.

You have given me a lot to digest, but I can already see some ways In Which I can improve so I am going to continue with a few more studies before I begin the final picture in acrylic.

Thankyou once again for taking the time to give me such a wonderful critique!!!!!!!!!

07-27-2015, 07:47 PM
I agree about the vertical lines and the cross lines making and x and blocking my way into the view. I think the red might be repeated. I like the way Mark did it, but the piece is so delicate that I thought it might be kept that way because it looks more like "you. I just moved some of the lines and repeated the red bird

07-27-2015, 08:32 PM
Thanks Bevahlee.

Btw i find it impressive that you can just alter a composition like that, it makes me realise that i have so much further to go, and that even though im trying not to I am still relying too heavily on the reference.

07-28-2015, 11:34 AM
personally I would have 1 bird or three birds. 1 bird is individual. It has a lot of impact. Two birds creates a lot of tension! Having two of something isn't a bad decision or a good decision necessarily. But it does create a lot of tension in the image because the viewer infers that the two are individual birds that are connected. A third bird creates a triangle of focal points (now its a 'bunch' of birds) which moves back to a safe composition. Adding warmth to the branches is enough to justify the bright red, to me.

07-28-2015, 12:13 PM
I agree with joseph. Three point tension pulls the eye thru the painting, but I quit and probably should have mentioned it.