View Full Version : Help with River View/Boats

Galloping Carrot
10-11-2007, 12:09 PM

Title: Help with River View/Boats
Year Created: 2007
Medium: Acrylic
Surface: Canvas
Dimension: 60cm x 90cm
Allow digital alterations?: Yes!

I started this painting four years ago and have left it..gone back to it...left it etc etc.<br><br>This week I was determined to finish it, I am struggling again! Please help!

Any advice would be gratefully received, although I think I am sick of the sight of it now :( but I do want to finish it! :)

10-11-2007, 01:07 PM
It feels quite finished.

10-11-2007, 01:24 PM
The best thing about it is how you've dropped off the colour saturation from the foreground to the background. Otherwise, it comes off as just too blah for my taste. Keying up the colour scheme and adding some complementaries might help. There are some proportional discrepancies: i.e.: the size of the seagull versus the boat its sitting on; and the boats in the distance seem too low in perspective and read as wrong-sized. And the scramble of boats in the foreground isn't particularly attractive.

Having said all that, I might recommend that you just sign it and move on to another, taking lessons learned with you.

Galloping Carrot
10-11-2007, 01:29 PM
Thanks Toraman :)

Thanks for looking too Alan, without wanting to appear stupid :o could you be more specific re too Blah and adding some complementaries might help

thanks for your comments :)

10-11-2007, 02:01 PM
Thanks for looking too Alan, without wanting to appear stupid :o could you be more specific re too Blah and adding some complementaries might help

thanks for your comments :)

You may have wished for it to be soft and pastel-ish, however, I'm suggesting that you increase the brightness/contrast effect and let loose a bit with colour. Pasting in your repro with some alts. Not saying do this in particular, maybe just jump in and shake it up a bit.


10-11-2007, 02:07 PM
Perhaps he was reacting to the somewhat dreary, overcast appearance of the midground and background in the picture. There is very little in the way of movement in the picture, despite the cluster of boats. The boats seem consciously arrayed about the water, each one separated from the others. No real reason for the boats to be there if there's no composition being served by their presence. They're just boats, sitting there, adding little or nothing to the picture. Other than the bird, there is no suggestion of any life in this picture.
I believe the "complementaries" Allanom mentioned would be colors.
I agree with him. Perhaps this painting could just be the basis from which you develop a new one, rather than torturing yourself trying to inject life into this one. Properly lit it's probably quite nice to look at. Call it "done" and hang it up somewhere it won't bother you, that's my suggestion as well.

[oops! posted this at about the same moment allanom did his treatment...]

Galloping Carrot
10-11-2007, 02:10 PM
I like that! thanks :) it does need a shake up!

10-11-2007, 04:28 PM
I love the suggestions given, the color really enlivens the scene! Good idea. I am however cognizant of what a wonderful depiction of a cool fog enveloped morning you have given us. The colors and the values you have used are superb!

To me the aspects of the painting that are more telling:
1. The top edge of the Nautilus lines up too closely with the edge of the dock. This robs the boat of any importance. It is caged and subdued, tied down to the dock. This is easily fixed just by raising its rail line.
2. It is however a good idea to keep its relationship to the smaller boat in front...so if the Nautilus were to be raised a bit higher it would be good to move that gull to the nearer side of its boat so that his tail feathers overlap the Nautilus, thus connecting the two objects, incidentally in keeping with the nature of gulls and for the interest of the foreground why not repeat the gulls?
3. lastly the central boat in the water is just that...center of canvas... I would re-situate it to the left.

For me this removes all of the awkward spots and I find the painting quite lovely as is!


P.S. I love the little penguin faced boat on the right! he's facing and pointing out, but so subsidiary to the whole that it doesn't matter?

Galloping Carrot
10-11-2007, 04:43 PM
Thank you for spending time on this..I have just quickly looked and will reply proper tomorrow :) I like what I see, many thanks :)

10-11-2007, 05:03 PM
didn't read all the comments. Looks moody and has a quite calming effect, but the boat dead center is killing everything off.


Not the image I was looking for, but lots of impressionist paintings were subdued and monochromatic. John Sloan,
Reginald Marsh, Milton Avery, Childe Hassam. This doesn't need to go bright to be good. It's just the composition.

Galloping Carrot
10-12-2007, 09:04 AM
Just a quick update before I kill myself... I have made it worse and my brain has stopped registering anything to do with this painting :mad:

However, it may come in handy for scaring the kids on halloween!

But, thanks so much for all your suggestions, Im moving onto a new painting (no boats)! :lol:


10-12-2007, 09:50 AM
Nice rework Laura. I agree with Beverly 100%. Not everything has to be bright and "pop". Adding the color makes it a different painting, not worse or better but different. There is something to be said for these softer paintings. Remember there are different styles of painting. As long as you're doing it to achieve an effect, it's fine.

I like the feel of this painting quite a bit, nice job. Move on, this is done.