View Full Version : Sunset

12-11-2007, 06:05 PM

Title: Sunset
Year Created: 2007
Medium: Oil
Surface: Canvas
Dimension: 22
Allow digital alterations?: Yes!

Not one hundred percent happy with this piece. Still struggling to produce something I'm happy with. Getting very doubtful and disheartened that I don't have the skills necessary to achieve what I want. I feel like I'm not making any progress. If anybody would like to take the time to post a suggestion or two or just critique it for me as to how I could have done better I would be delighted to hear from you.

If anybody would like to take the time to post a suggestion or two or just critique it for me as to how I could have done better I would be delighted to hear from you.

12-11-2007, 10:18 PM
Hi Amaden, Nice picture of Ireland...........Your clouds are breathtaking. Not sure what kinda palms they are but here in Southern California the trunks on the small palms tapers upward, but not all palms do this. Some are very heavy towards the top. also pruning shapes the trees . Usually some palm leaves from seasons past are folded downward to bunch up near the top below the newer leaves. My suggestion is if you can google palm trees and find a few pics that are similar to yours and work out a composite . I wouls say this is not really needed because your picture is very impressive as it is..........John

12-12-2007, 03:11 AM
I would not feel discouraged. You have a nice hangable painting here. The sky especially is drawn and conceptualized nicely. The openness of the sky is quite appealing.

To come up with a critique, the painting seems a little impersonal to me, even allowing for the fact that nothing in it is animate. That is only one person's highly subjective impression.

Overall, the painting is quite nice. Applause. (This is from two people at once. :)

12-12-2007, 11:01 AM
Hi Amadan, do you know what you're not satisfied with? It is a decent painting, but you strive for something more, right? Well, practice, practice, learn, ask (as specific questions as possible at your current stage). Survive being discouraged, you'll get where you want to, eventually. And then you'll find a new level you want to acheive...

Two of something, a pair, is often tricky -- our brains seem to loke odd numbers of the same thing best: 1, 3, 5 flowers in a vase. You have two palmtrees, and while that is not exactly wrong, it is a balance that is not so dynamic. The tiny bench has a great visual 'weight', it totally grabs attention, as it is man-made, and one is looking for an occupant or two. I put my finger over the bench, and suddenly the painting was a sunset 'waterscape' instead of a small bench in a large painting. I really don't know how to solve this, as the bench has a good placement in the composition. It invites us to sit on it, and watch the sunset. Maybe it is a bit too dark, and lightening it would make it there, but not the star of the show?

Your sky is very beautiful and well rendered, believable. As it is so spectacular, it ought to be the star of the show, in my opinion. (It is, of course, only an opinion.) Your placement of the horizon is excellent, and it also says that the sky ought to be the sole star. The pavement of the foreground is varied, curving, and the colour is muted and lets the sky be brilliantly glowing. In all, it is a very decent job, and you'll get where you want to be, sooner or later.

12-12-2007, 12:37 PM
I think I would heighten the drama by pushing the contrasts. I also moved the tree shadows a bit and put sky colors in the water


12-12-2007, 01:03 PM
Hi Amadan! The painting is extremely well done. It makes one stop and look and think...and wonder...what is it about this.....?

Dont let the discouragement get you down. If you didn't have it you would never paint. It is still a large part of what I do and I have been painting for half a century. There are a couple observations I would make about this as to what it needs to pull it together. The sky is beautiful, but should not be untouchable for all of that. The problem lies with the trees and the effects of your light. The trees, both of them have need of a heavier canopy of foliage.dont let us see through the center portion, let it block the sky out . The first palm tree looks like a prototype...you were unsure of how it should be, The tree trunk is crooked and the fronds do not curve smoothly and gracefully. As artists we have the task of beautifying what we paint. A straight trunk, thick luxuriant and gracefully curving fronds are needed here. The color of the trees is fine, they are a light silhouette. That being the case give us some of that lightest sunset color playing through the upper portion of some of the fronds. It should not run down the tree trunks or appear as direct light below the tree tops. Howeverall of the beautiful foreground puddles should reflect that warm color, especially make sure that under the bench and all foreground reflective spots get it. It warms the painting and it pulls the foreground toward us. Here is a general view of what I mean (disregard the 'frothy' palm fronds, you know how they should look)


12-12-2007, 07:00 PM
Hi thank you all - CL Magnuson, Spyderbabe, Colorix, hward and Creodant for your wonderful suggestions and words of encouragement and thank you for taking the time and bother to look at my picture and post a reply. It means a lot.

Creodont, picture of Ireland? I wish!! :crying: You're so lucky to be living in a warm place where palm trees can live. They don't grow here I'm afraid, too cold and too wet! This painting is of a scene I captured with my camera on holidays a few months back in the south of France. It was lashing when we arrived (like being at home!! :lol:) but it cleared up with an amazing sunset shortly before I took the photo. Thank you for your kind words.

Hward, thank you. I'm glad you like, all isn't completely lost if people like you think it's hangable. It is a bit impersonable alright and probably boring looking. Thanks for your applause, if only I could can it!! :clap:


I like the sky (it's the best sky I've done to date) but am still thinking is my picture boring and flat looking? I would like it to have some punch or something. I hope you're right about improving! You're bang on when you say about having two of anything. I did debate for a long time about whether to put in two or three trees. I did know about the "rule" of odd numbers looking better. I had originally in my sketch on canvas drawn 3 trees but on this particular canvas size it didn't allow for much space or distance between each tree to be achieved. They just looked too close together. I didn't have any other canvases available to me at the time as I had bulk bought a few canvases all this size on the net beforehand. I probably should have waited until I had gotten a wider canvas so 3 trees could have been easily accommodated. Another factor for me against an extra tree was the fact that I was working from a photo I had taken and the photo was taken rather quickly (cars were flying up and down past path) and I didn't manage to snap 3 but only 2 and a bit trees and me painting from memory or my imagination just does not work! I had major problems with the first tree. I know what you mean about the bench. I didn't know quite how to treat it to get the best effect and am not happy at all with it. Somebody should set it on fire!! :lol: Thanks for making me feel better about the things I did get right. I'm glad you think I did get parts of it right.

Spyderbabe I was thinking of trying to push the conrasts a bit more like you suggested and maybe darkening the foreground a bit more. Not sure yet what I'll do. I was going to put some sky colours in the water but in the photo I took the oranges didn't reflect at all. I did at one time put in some orange but later painted over it. I might try putting a little bit of orange in here and there. The water in the left hand side of photo was darker (because of cloud cover) and the right hand side was brighter. I didn't quite capture that either, didn't really notice it until I posted my pict. here. I need to fix that.

CL Magnuson congratulations on fifty plus years of painting. You must have an impressive body of work amassed by now. I hope I have the stamina and will power to keep going like you. Ten out of ten for noticing the first tree was the prototype. I had a terrible time trying to make it look like a tree :lol: and I'm not sure it looks like a tree even now! The further tree was easier, I think because the tree looked better and easier to configure from the photo the first tree was very vague or something so I struggled there. I think adding extra fronds like you've shown does look better. The warmer colours do look good. I will take a look at doing that.

Texas June
12-12-2007, 08:31 PM
I think it's beautiful - but not quite finished. Everyone has good ideas from experience.
Because I love sunsets, I was remembering why. The next step is to punch up the sun (you can tell where it should be in the sky by backtracking your tree shadows). The water will always have sparkles from the sunlight, along with the sky color that Kathlene mentioned. Also, any live spectator will see that the wet foreground concrete will reflect the sunlight also.
It's amazing what these types of highlights can do to bring the painting to life, even with some storm clouds! You did a great job on the sky - I can even see the sun reflecting off the large storm clouds in the correct places.
Hopefully, one of the more experienced artists will see this and explain how to accomplish these within your painting style. I'm not technical enough, yet :)
You have too much talent to waste. Just a little further to go - you'll be very happy!

12-14-2007, 05:41 AM
I like the contrast between colorful sky to monotone water. For me the drama is created by this contrast. I don't look for logic in art, don't look for reality. I rather prefer expression and drama.