View Full Version : Coming Home to Roost

07-20-2017, 08:30 AM
This is a 9x12 on Pastel Premiere paper -the clay tone. I like the sky, but am looking for suggestions on the water - both color and value. Thanks!

07-20-2017, 11:54 AM
Love those spoonbills, Driz! What is your focal point? The birds, the water? Depending on where you want it to be will support the feedback. I could suggest several :)

07-20-2017, 01:24 PM
This is the first WC critique that I have posted, so I hope I'm doing it right...

I love the value and temperature range in this painting. It has a wonderful mood. I really get the sense of a quiet, early evening at the shore.

I'd like to see the far water calmed down a bit so it doesn't compete with the birds. I've attempted that in Photoshop, although it's a little crude. I didn't want to try to mess with your sky, but I think your mark-making could also be calmed down there a bit.


Hope this helps

07-20-2017, 02:16 PM
Thank you artelahe and pprender. You are right that there are competing focal points and I love what calming the water does to help that. Thank you both for some great suggestions! I often struggle with too much detail too many places.

07-20-2017, 02:53 PM
I would only calm the far Water but keep it close to as is at the shore. The yellow is a bit more forward than the pink. You could put a touch of that intense yellow above the back of the piping plover to the right of the rear spoonbill to balance before anything else to see if that helps the eye travel there first then back across the water to the sky and back to the birds. Just a thought.

Donna T
07-20-2017, 06:11 PM
I was also thinking you might want to quiet the far water and keep the closer water as is so I'm glad it has been suggested. It's a gorgeous sky and the light on the birds is beautiful!

07-21-2017, 09:15 AM
Beautiful sky, water and birds!
But like 3 desserts maybe too much of a good thing!

07-22-2017, 02:21 PM
The rendering and colors are very nice indeed!

I see two main problems, both of which are with the composition.

Firstly, the picture is divided in roughly equal halves by the tree line, which is generally considered something to avoid. The eye prefers unequal divisions. The bottom half is divided into four nearly equal bands: trees, water, land, water. Even divisions such as these lend a static feel, especially when the values stack as alternating light dark contrasts.

The easiest fix in my view would be to crop it to a square, and paint out the lower spit of land that divides the water. If you don't remove the land, you end up with five relatively equal horizontal bands. Without the land you end up with about twice as much sky as trees, and twice as much water as sky, which is a more pleasing variation.

With this crop, most of the glorious sky colors are retained, you would lose mostly the darker mass above.

Because there is lees sky showing, you would have free artistic rein for what the water refections will look like, so it would be easy to calm down the lower section and darken the value to better contrast with the pink birds. You could use the reflections to subtly draw the eye down in the general direction the the birds.

The other thing that strikes me is there are too many birds - too busy down there. I would leave the three pink ones, and lose the others. That would allow the eye to rest there more easily. Or, you could balance the the group of three large birds with one of the little sandpipers on the far left, but facing in toward the spoonbills. which would direct attention back to them.

I took the liberty of doing a crop in Photoshop to illustrate, though I didn't try to remove any of the birds, land, or change the water - my photoshop skills are limited!

Hope this is useful.


07-22-2017, 03:54 PM
The is a lovely sky and the birds are very realistic.

07-23-2017, 07:19 PM
Thanks for all your suggestions, images and comments. They are very helpful. I get stuck in what I like and then forget some of the compositional aspects. I have revised this painting - softened the sunset, muted and smoothed the water, changed the shape of the far bank, and taken some of the birds out. I think it is better, but will serve as a study for another painting.

Donna T
07-24-2017, 11:22 AM
Those are nice changes, driz, and make for a stronger composition. I sent you a pm with another idea, just playing and doing a "what if" with your painting.