View Full Version : It's a Jungle Out There

01-05-2017, 04:31 PM

Title: It's a Jungle Out There
Year Created:
Medium: Acrylic
Surface: Wood
Dimension: 20x20
Allow digital alterations?: Yes!

this painting is based around how nature makes me feel. Wild & Uplifted. I am really into Narrative & Symbolism.

What do I need to work on? How can I grow? Where are there problems in this painting?

Mark Szymanski
01-05-2017, 07:23 PM
Nothing wrong with narrative and symbolism. Some of the greatest Renaissance works were absolutely packed with narrative and symbolism.

I don't usually put my two cents in on abstract work. Growth with abstract is really not something I really think is possible. Evolution, to my way of thinking is a more appropriate word for the process of abstract. Evolution is change - not for the better, but just for adaption to a new environment. A sparrows bill isn't better than a hummingbirds bill, it is different to suit the work needed. If your work makes you feel a certain feeling, who is anyone to judge this sort of piece? When you're 15 years old you may see meaning in certain shapes, at 60 those same shapes don't hold the same understanding. For me, I don't see wild and uplifted at all. If you see wild and uplifted then this is good for you. I see is chaos and entropy rather than a thought process of design.

For example when I see this piece value wise, I see something like this...


It is basically the same value except for the white pine tree shapes. There is no real path for the eye to follow. Everything is just as important as everything else. Is the hand important? Heck, I don't know... it has contrast with the background, but is not really emphasized in any way. How about the tree shapes? They're scattered rather randomly so I see them as more like fence posts interrupting the vision. Because everything is calling out to me equally, it is rather like "Where's Waldo".

Another way to look at a piece like this is how the color pattern itself works.


If I simulate me looking at the painting with my glasses off, do I see any dominate color idea here? Not to my eye. There is roughly the same amount of blue as to green. So much interruption with the pinks and greens and so saturated in color causes so much vibration, my eye never has a chance to take anything in.

Maybe think about some impasto areas and some thicker paint. To me it seems somewhat timid with the paint, like you were trying ideas as you painted rather than being certain about your statement.

Certain types of lines generally have an accepted meaning, just as certain shapes are understood at a basic level to give an accepted understanding. You have many recurrent shapes and there was an opportunity to explore the color within the shape. For example the big pink flower motif on the right side is painted the whole way through with the same color pink for every brush stroke. You could have varied the color or the width of the brush stroke to make something like this more interesting to look at for the viewer. Perhaps easing the pressure on the bristles to make the line thinner, or if a flat brush was used, then a turn of the brush in the fingers would have changed the width of the line.

We all would approach your ideas in different ways, and so if your way works for you then you've done a fantastic job. Don't worry about what others think, just do what you like to do. If you're interested in design, then read books on design; if you're interested in color meaning, then read books on color meaning; if you're interested in line meaning, then read books on this subject. You start with a basic vocabulary then set those words into a wonderful poem. If this is a wonderful poem to you then you've done it. If not, then decide is it the cool temperature of the colors, or the types of lines I've placed, the shape design, or whatever you believe is wrong... then learn about those things and incorporate those ideas in your next work.

Making art of this type is highly personal so it is wonderful you're putting this out there!

01-06-2017, 09:26 AM
Wow. Thank you. This post will definitely help me with where I am at with this painting. & you are right, growth is the wrong word. Evolution is certainly the way to go.

thank you. Lots to Ponder. :)