View Full Version : Trying abstracts again! Help!

Mary Woodul
04-10-2006, 01:03 PM
I feel that this is a little weak and I would like it to pop more but I don't think I can add much to it. Any suggestions? C&Cs appreciated.

20x16" Acrylic over wall texture and paper. Finished off with oil.


04-10-2006, 02:19 PM
:clap: WOW Mary! I love this!

Althow I like it as is to make it pop maybe just add little touches of lighter values of the colors that are already there. :confused:


04-10-2006, 04:35 PM
Like the texturing. Nice balance of colors as well. Is it a bit brighter in real life? I just feel it is brighter. Don't know why.

That blue is amazing.

Mary Woodul
04-10-2006, 05:14 PM
Lisa, thank you! I think I will let it rest as is and decide a little later.

Howard, thank you. Actually I increased the contrast a little because it felt too subdued to me. The colors are true but not as bright. I'll leave it as a proof until I get myself back to the feel of Mixed Media. It is funny how you can get lost so easily if you back away from a medium for a while.:(

04-10-2006, 08:54 PM
Just a thought - add some small textures of a dark tone that provides some subtle contrast ( like a darkish red or orange with a cross hatch material) I'm thinking of some of the little scraps in Howard's Meditations 32 and 33 (see his photos in thread titled Meditation 34). To add some movement in the darker areas bridging into the lighter tones. Of course, adding one thing just leads to another . . .
I like it as it is, but I can see that it might need a bit more . . . letting it rest is probably a good idea. Or some Photoshop playing around or test collaging on the piece?

Mary Woodul
04-10-2006, 09:03 PM
Thank you, Barbara. Yes I also feel that it is not finished and that it needs something. That sound like a good idea.

04-10-2006, 10:11 PM

This is really beautiful and I love the colors. Sometimes when I want to make an area pop, I put a dark line behind or around the lighter area and shadow it. You can also add some metalics lightly brushed over the surface to bring out some areas. I also have used some gesso sponged on strategically to create some lighter areas, and then you can use metallics over that also. There are a milion ways to make colors pop, adding more texture sometimes helps too; for example, I often add ogura lace paper (japanese lace paper with large holes) over an area and lightly brush it with metallic color; then the under layer pops through. Just some ideas for you to mull around, but this is really wonderful and the palette is great.

Mary Woodul
04-10-2006, 10:40 PM
Shar, thank you so much for your comment. You have given me some very good ideas here for this one and others that I would like to try. I have never sponged over and I'm sure that is easier to control.

Robin Neudorfer
04-11-2006, 02:23 AM
It needs an arch!

04-11-2006, 04:03 AM
Hi Mary,
It is just beautiful colours , but as you say it may be a bit subdued.
When I feel like that I usually put the work up where I can see it for a lot of time (sometimes at the end of my bed). Then often the solution comes to me over a period of up to a week.

Two known things to make pop....

complementary colours - you have that - the blue & orange - maybe popping them AGAINST each other a little more

tonal contrast - our 2nd year art school mantra 'light against dark - dark against light' maybe strengthening the lights and darks in the top right quarter might do it - where do you see the focal point of your painting as being?

04-11-2006, 06:37 AM
I don't think you have lost your touch at all Mary. This is so beautiful and you have received some wonderful advice, I'm sure you will work things out.

Mary Woodul
04-11-2006, 07:46 AM
Robin, thanks for looking! (ooops teacher caught me)

Wendy,thanks for the advice and as to the focal point, that is always my problem in abstracts, I would think it were where the brightest orange is on the upper left.

Chris thank you, and I will work on all this wonderful advice I have received.;)

karen m
04-11-2006, 03:54 PM
Hi Mary....
Just a thought....someone has already mentioned playing with this in Photoshop (I only have PS Elements, but it works well for this).

How about some horizontal elements....maybe just darkening or changing the intensity of various areas with those. It might help to establish a focal point.

Don't know.....no expert here. On occasion it's helped me...maybe will for you too. :)

Mary Woodul
04-11-2006, 06:01 PM
Thank you Karen, for looking and your suggestion. I just did somethings to make the edge of the amate paper disappear. Don't know what will happen yet but it is a good way to start playing around with mixed media again. I can always recycle again if I ruin it.:D

Anita Murphy
04-11-2006, 06:09 PM
I think this is just FAB Mary!! I love the verticals - tremedous feeling of height! Those colours just SING!!!!

Mary Woodul
04-11-2006, 11:13 PM
Anita, thank you for coming over to look and for you nice comment.

04-12-2006, 02:08 AM
No Mary, you haven't lost your touch but I know exactly how that feels when you come back to some medium or style that you have not worked with for a while.

To me, this feels like a very sensuous abstract female body. The two yellow orbs at the top very breast like. I would play with that abstracted form, add a little more high light to it and as others suggested, add more darks around it.

As usual your colors are rich and thought provoking. I don't mind the subdued palette. Start looking at what shapes are taking center stage and play off of them to find your focal point.


Mary Woodul
04-12-2006, 07:18 AM
Li, thank you, you comments are always so valuable to me and you have given me something to work on today.:D

04-12-2006, 03:54 PM
very strong piece....

not too sure if this was already mentioned--but if you want it the colours to 'pop' more... what about a glaze of some sort.

I find paint that looks 'wet' looks more robust--but since you have combined water based and oil not too sure about the logositics there...

Otherwise aces!

Mary Woodul
04-12-2006, 05:33 PM
Thank you for your encouraging words. That is true about the "wet look" making colors pop out because I have done it over encaustics with candle varnish and it looked so vivid. Maybe I can try with Liquin and see what happens.:thumbsup:

04-12-2006, 07:28 PM
Hy Mary, I'm back in the life and to the forum. As Howard said "Nice balance of colors as well"; and Chris "I don't think you have lost your touch at all Mary. This is so beautiful...", are opinions I'm agreed of. So, I think your painting do not need any changes.To make it more pop, it needs some kind of "tween". If you allow me I would give you "advice" on your panting directly.Sounds mysterious? Allow me and find out!

Mary Woodul
04-12-2006, 07:36 PM
Slobodan, please do! That is what I need. Thank you!

04-13-2006, 05:48 PM
Hi Mary. All of as are making good and, sometimes, bad paintings/artworks. Making decision which artwork to keep and which to throw out is equal in worth as to make it. So, if you even think your painting is weak, never ask for help about it. Asking for help, or knowledge exchanges are usual about techniques or procedures only.
I have read all advice replys to your post.They are very clever and skilled, but heterogeneous.What to accept? One way or another, you would make smb.else's painting, or by accepting all advices - confusion ( by the way I lke that soulution,and am planing to make a collection of Confusion artworks with as many as possible collaborators).
I think your painting is excellent, but even if I don't think so, I would advice you to not change it.
You can ask what is the sense of my explanation.You've already knew it all.
The point of view is the message to recipient.Your panting can have a several extensions.Kind of extension is depending of consumer ( you can compare it with computer file; maryspainting.jpeg and maryspainting.bmp are the same images but with different file extensions which shows image by a very dfferent way).Consumers extensions could be *.i like it, *. piece of ****, *. excellent work....
You, as the author of the painting has the right for own extension.In this case it should be *.THIS PAINTING DO NOT NEED ANY CHANGES. And not only in this case.
To be self-confident, make one print reproduction ( giclee) on canvas in the same size as original painting, "tween" with embeded extension text.
If you didn't understand me, don't worry, very often I can hardly understand itself.


04-13-2006, 09:32 PM
Aux- some of us offered our "opinions" because Mary asked for suggestions. Mary is an accomplished artist and knows herself well enough to follow her own gut in the end.

04-14-2006, 11:24 PM
Mary, I am just a beginner so cannot offer any suggestions but I just wanted to say how much I love the colours & if it were mine I would be very happy with it.

Mary Woodul
04-16-2006, 03:58 PM
Thank you Slobodan, I didn't answer sooner because I was away.

Dolittle, any critique always helps and most of all the fact that you look at it is always helpful and appreciated by anyone that posts work in the forum. Thank you for looking!

Li, as always thank you! I still can't seem to break away from the drawback a realist has when you are not sure of what you are doing in abstract. Your observation did make me see more too it and I actually just darkened ares, enahancing what I already had and left it the same.:)

04-23-2006, 01:55 PM
I think it's beautiful! love it just the way it is!

Mary Woodul
04-23-2006, 03:09 PM
Thank you Ed, your C&Cs are important to me.:)