View Full Version : A Swan

09-30-2015, 08:38 AM

Title: A Swan
Year Created:
Medium: Oil
Surface: Canvas
Dimension: 11 x 14
Allow digital alterations?: Yes!

Surreal painting of a swan

I want to improve, so please tell me what I could have done better.

09-30-2015, 10:01 AM
I LOVE it!

09-30-2015, 10:04 AM
WOW this is the first "I Love it" I ever got on this Open Critique. Your encouragement is very much appreciated.

Mark Szymanski
09-30-2015, 05:57 PM
There are some areas I think you did well on, for example, where the neck joins the body - on a mute swan, the neck will indeed be near the waterline. One of the lily pads seems about correct in perspective and placement.

Several things confuse me on your painting however. The one issue which confuses me the most is the concentric rings on between the lily pads and the swan. These lines curving lines reinforce one another and create a very powerful eye draw, calling to the viewer to look not at the swan, but origin point of the rings. The lines should be supporting the subject, not calling attention away from the subject. The shape of the swan usually is chosen to exude grace, control, and a type of enduring power and the shapes of the rings normally should help to make one focus on those qualities... the somewhat random placement reduces the effectiveness of those qualities in the swan. The another issue for me is how they aren't radiating from a center point, and staying within that perspective. The center points of the rings are located in many places, and almost form a divot (low place) in the water.


If they were placed in the correct orientation, the rings could be explained by the swan feeding underwater, as long as the origin point is located within reach of the head... I would consider enlarging this idea so the swan is being enveloped and crossing through the arcs of the rings.

The sparkles within the rings can be important to help lead the eye around the painting and balance the different elements.

I like the left-most lily pad, the others I am not too sure about. They lay in the water at different perspective angles, so the water isn't looking like the surface is all on the same plane. Maybe re-shaping these a bit and then adding a bit of definition to the flowers to help describe these a bit more.

Consider checking the shape of the bill, the white streak makes the bill a bit awkwardly shaped and not as graceful.

The other areas to the right of the bird seem just thrown in rather than added with purpose.

The areas in front of the swan, where the red arrows are, look as if you just scrubbed the brush randomly back and forth in a downward motion rather than thinking about how this area can help lead the eye around the painting, help you exit the painting, or help describe a quality about the painting.

A bit more consideration of how the areas support your idea will make all of your work much stronger. You have the makings of a powerful idea within this work, thinking about how everything meshes together will help to bring those ideas to fruition.

10-01-2015, 09:11 AM
wow Mark, that's a lot to digest.

10-01-2015, 11:55 AM
I love the swirls in the water. They're interesting. I can see Mark's point though. Perhaps you can add some more swirls behind the swan to draw your eye through the piece? Do you do abstract art? I think it would be interesting to see you try!

10-01-2015, 02:34 PM
Sarah I consider this picture an abstract.

Dana Design
10-05-2015, 01:28 PM
This is not an abstract painting but rather a very representational painting. There is the swan and the leaves and the flowers with very specific movement to the water.

An abstract painting would not be so specific of the subject matter. The swan is nicely done and all of Mark's suggestions are spot on.

10-05-2015, 04:11 PM
Whatever you choose to call it, it is what it is....Not reality....but a pretty picture.