View Full Version : Autumn Landscape

10-05-2015, 07:28 AM

Title: Autumn Landscape
Year Created:
Medium: Acrylic
Surface: Canvas
Dimension: 11
Allow digital alterations?: Yes!

Hi all. This is a photo of the painting so there is a bit of light reflected on the left of the painting.

I am looking for a general critique of this painting. Any input is appreciated.


10-05-2015, 10:15 AM
Hi Deb, I'm no pro but just my first impression is that the red leaves look like they do not belong to the tree trunk behind, seem to me are missing some branches behind. Also the reflection does not contain the red color reflecting. also the rocks look somehow flat, the shadows are missing, in the texture as also in the surrounding.

I like the colors you used :) . Don't take my word, I'm not educated in art.

10-05-2015, 10:20 AM
Hi Tony! Thanks for your critique. I know there seems to be something missing and I think you may have hit on a couple of the issues I was unable to discern. I will definitely take your critique and work off of it!
Thanks again,

10-05-2015, 04:20 PM
Hi Deb. I love the warm colors of this picture. I think it is very good. I do find that my eyes go right to the whitish boulders at the base of the tree, not sure if you want that to be the focal point or not.

10-05-2015, 04:26 PM
Thank you, Terry. I think the focal point is intended to be the tree. I agree that one'e eyes are directected to the stones.

10-06-2015, 07:46 AM
Nice job. I would put more shadows on the rock. I really like this one.

10-06-2015, 12:39 PM
Thanks, Kin3~
I appreciate your input. I have worked it more and I think more shadows on the rocks was one of the things I did.

Mark Szymanski
10-06-2015, 05:01 PM
Nice so far... Since the tree is supposed to be your subject, perhaps thinking about the treatment you've given so far to it can be of some help.

I really like the quote from Mr. HR Poore on how to go about setting a picture.

"With twenty objects to present, which one on the chessboard of your picture should be the highest priority, and which shall stand next in importance, and which shall have a limited influence, and which, like the pawns, shall serve as little more than the added thoughts in the game?"

The rocks are in fact just pawns on the chessboard of your picture, nearly meaningless - only decoration. Decreasing the brightness, lower the chroma, and lessening the definition and straightness of some of the edges will help. No item in your picture should call for your attention more than the subject does. After you've been drawn to your subject and lingered over it, where do you want the visitor to travel to next? That item should be of lesser importance than your subject. What lines in your picture lead you to your subject? What lines help to move you to the next thing... it goes on from there.

The subject is the tree. Your eye should jump to this first. The pine in the background is calling for attention just as much as the maple. There is more definition in bark and shadow, a big curving branch angling inwards pointing to the pine trunk, strong lights against strong darks. In contrast, your maple tree has very little description of what the bark is like, the roots aren't anchored into the bank, there is light where there should be heavy shadows, and the leaves are timidly done. Massing the shapes of the leaf clusters will help this greatly. Consider cutting out some red construction paper into interesting masses and laying out on your painting, or using an imaging program, redraw the masses of leaves into interesting shapes.

You may also wish to consider changing the angle of the trunk, perhaps the tree is leaning outwards over the water - this will change the angle of the trunk a bit because the tree is attempting to find more sunlight. Rather than designed straight up and down as if the tree had grown all its life without competition, maybe while young it reached around another tree to find the light it needed ( maybe one of those stumps nearby) which caused it to grow to one side and outwards toward the water. These will give more interest to the tree. Creating interest is about contrast, for example, how it is the arc and graceful curves of a limb are best seen when contrasted with the a straighter or more angled limb. These straight lengths are important to allow you to see the graceful curve, they don't have to long hard edges, but can and should give the impression of straightness. Rough vs smooth, light vs dark, short twists vs long curves. Making some of these contrasts will help differentiate trunk of the important tree from its surroundings.

I would suggest also you decrease the attention to the pines roots you have a bright root next to a really dark shape - this contrast is strongly calling your attention.


Maybe consider the reds you're using on the maple. The reds in the shade will be of a cooler temperature (think Alizarin Crimson) than the reds in the sun (think Cadmium Red). These differences in temperature of sun colors vs shade colors will be helpful to describe a mass of leaves. Right now both light and shadow are pretty warm and too close to the same value. When you see leaves on trees you see them as a mass, not individuals - there are values of light and shadow as the shapes are lit by the sun and then lit by reflected light. The shadows will have a lower value (darker) than the sunshine masses of leaves (brighter).

Something to think about is to vary the shape of the bank - it is pretty much a straight line at this point. Why not make one portion extend out towards the viewer a bit. A varied edge is more interesting and can angle the eye to where you want it.


As mentioned earlier the values of the sunlit areas aren't substantially different than the values in the shadow areas. If we switch to black and white, can you see where the sun is falling? What is casting shadows? Everything falls into a mid-tone where most everything is either bright (sky, rocks, tree trunks) or dark (foliage on maple, pine, ground, water). There are no sunlit areas, so there are no real shadows to compare them to. This can work if it is supposed to be an overcast gloomy day, but I don't sense that as your purpose.

In any case, I think this piece has some great possibilities, you should develop this further...

10-07-2015, 06:58 AM
Thank you, Mike for all your suggestions! It's a lot to take in but I will certainly try. I appreciate you taking the time to critique this painting. I will repost the photo when I correct it.