View Full Version : Daffodil, please critique

04-06-2006, 11:25 AM
Here's a daffodil I found in the image library submitted by watercolorbill. I started in Painter, my antique Painter 4, I have a small wacom graphire. I wasn't happy with the background, so I went to photoshop where, I worked on the background, bluring, painting, dodging, burning, etc- using on the tools, no filters
I'd like some construction criticism and honest suggestions on this. I'm feeling pretty good with how I'm developing a very painterly style digitally, but I want to really develop it to the max. So help please!!!!


04-06-2006, 11:48 AM

1) I like the bolder colors you used. I am often guilty of not using a saturated enough color.

2) I would have made the foreground (the flower) sharper to distinguish it from the background. Because the whole is done with a fuzzy focus, the image makes me feel a bit woozy. Giving the flower more sharpness would help.

3) I also like the way you incorporated the hint of yellow into the flower's white areas. You gave it just enough.


04-06-2006, 12:07 PM
I like it.
Needs crisper edges on the flower to pull it away from the bg. The browny envelope the flower somes out of looks like a petal. Stamens need a shadow below them to pull them into 3D. Background perhaps needs to be lighter and less definite or more detailed, one way or the other. Personally I'd put some paper texture on to it, but we're not allowed to do that in this forum.

It would look nice small mounted on white.

04-06-2006, 03:01 PM
Elaine, you've done a beautiful job, but if I were going to be critical... I would say that it seems that you've over used the smudge/blur. I always tell Digital artists that IMO, it's much better to blend that to smudge/blur. This is further accentuated with by a few of the pedal edges that seem over-sharpened.

My personal taste would be to not crop so tight as well... to give the flower a little more breathing room to help with the composition.

I feel that you have a beautiful painterly style...

If I had to leave you with one piece of advice, it would be to never smudge/blur a painting. Smudging/blurring is often over-used... and it never really looks like paint.

04-06-2006, 03:16 PM
I think you are really headed down the right path...One thing I did when I first started that makes a world of difference, is I painted on too small a canvas....Up that to 2000 etc and you will see a great difference...then you can resize if you need to.

04-06-2006, 03:28 PM
hi there elaine...:), good work. apart from what has already been mentioned, i would just add one thing: its about treatment, the Flow of your brushstrokes matter a lot, or lets say Direction of brushstrokes. always remember this as a very important thing. few more brushstrokes if applied in a right direction, will make a big difference in this painting. just study the form and put a stroke according to that. im sure that will work...:).

all the best elaine...:).

04-07-2006, 03:12 PM
Very nice start! I find it hard to capture flowers in painting, but you've got a lot of good advice here. I find it too blurry instead of soft and delicate. I am looking forward to your finished piece! :)

04-07-2006, 03:13 PM
Thank you all for you help/advice. The fuzziness comes, from the fact that I can't keep my hands off the watercolor brushes in Painter. I am naturally a watercolor painter, and even digitally I can't stay away from that style. I did go back in with PS and try to make the edges of the petals crisper, but not enough, so I will go back for that.
TxaggieDarlin, this is not the original version of the painting. The original is 1500x1500 pixels or 5 x 5 at 300dpi. I downsized it before uploading. I had also learned from someone here on WC to take my file to Imageready and optimize for the web, which makes a very small file size. It looks pretty much the same on my monitor, but how well it looks on other's computers is hard to say. I keep reading various explanations why color appears differently on different computers. I'm running a MAC G4, 1gig dual processor on a Sony monitor.
I will definitely consider all of your suggestions and post an update. Thank you all!

04-07-2006, 03:24 PM
Joel, would you please explain more on how you suggest blending, rather than using smudge/blur?

04-07-2006, 05:54 PM
I would keep working with it...blend the colors and highlights a bit more, as well as the shadows. Just my own experience as a former dodge and burn tool junkie...dont rely on it for shading and highlighting, use the color palet and really look hard at the colors in the painting.You have alot of very black areas that aren't in the photo...and I know you probably dont want to slavishly copy the photo, but in a spring flower, black can have a kind of jarring effect.
I know I am new here and not the world's best painter myself...and alot of people get bent out of shape at my critism, but I am offering it in the kindest of spirit.
You're doing great and will go far. It's all about practice and seeing.

04-07-2006, 10:21 PM
Looking good Elaine, just keep working on the suggestions and you'll get there :)

04-07-2006, 11:28 PM
Here I am after quite a bit more work on this. I sharpened up the edges by painting in photoshop with a hard edge brush. I don't know if it's okay in this forum, but I made a selection of the flower and reversed the selection to rework the background. I've never been good at painting around something.
I'm happier with the background now. Any other suggestions anyone! Joel, I'd still like to hear about your ideas on blending. I've tried to blend by keeping the opacity low and using a real fuzzy brush. and apply layers of color.
Rebeccalopez, welcome, it doesn't matter if your new here or the world's greatest painter, we're always interested in hearing what people have to say!
Years ago, when I taught elementary school, I'd have students write critiques on local art shows or paintings I'd bring to class- sometimes they were old masters, or they were mine or friend's of mine paintings- Sometimes, they didn't know that it was one of my paintings, and I'd get the best suggestions/feedback!

04-08-2006, 04:35 AM
Elaine, that is really nice now. Sometimes I find that you can only go so far improving a painting, but this is good. Your next will have a head start.

(As you say it's probably veered away from Painter's alley, but I won't tell Sherry!)

Shan Khurram
04-08-2006, 04:36 AM
This looks fine.:thumbsup:

04-08-2006, 06:45 AM
MUCH better IMHO, Elaine!

Welcome, Rebecca! :wave: Elaine requested a critique. In a recent discussion, we pretty much agreed that we would try to be as honest as possible when a fellow artist requested a critique...;)