View Full Version : Beginner Needs Feedback

04-11-2009, 05:23 PM
Hello - I've lurked here for a couple of months and this is a great site!

I enjoyed art class in high school, but haven't really done any painting since then. It's something I've always wanted to do "someday", but since I'm over 50 it's time to start! It's definitely one of the things on my Bucket List.

I'm still learning the basics, but here are two early attempts. I still have a few finishing touches to do on each of them, but would like any constructive criticism you think would be helpful for a beginner. . I don't get my feelings hurt easily, so don't hesitate to be blunt.

These are both 11 x 14 on canvas panel, painted with craft acrylics, although I do try to use the FolkArt Artists' Pigments.

I am still having trouble with edges, mixing colors, etc., but I know the only way to get better is to paint.

Also, I get an error when I try to do an image insert, so I am attaching the images instead.


C & C welcome.

Li'l Brown
04-11-2009, 05:29 PM
Hey Deb! Welcome to the acrylics forum.

I like both of these but would have to say I especially love the reflected colours in the building of the second painting. IMO you could probably lose the cat silhouette, as it draws my eye away from the rest of the painting. I would almost like to see the cat sitting on the top step or something, a little less obtrusive. But that's just my opinion, and it's your painting :) I'll leave the real advice-giving to the experts here! lol

04-11-2009, 05:35 PM
I really like the second painting also! Wonderful colours in your trees, bushes and fence.
The first one looks a little flat and would benefit from a stronger light source. I like the backgound and the form of the flowers!
Nice work and welcome!

Lady Carol
04-11-2009, 05:40 PM
Hello PainterDeb and welcome officially to the forum, you have to have a minimum number of posts (forget how many, 2-3?) to upload an image, so rack up the comments and you will not have any trouble in the future.

Both are fantastic pieces. The vase could have the shadows strengthened. This will make it pop more and help define its roundness. In the middle of the vase you seem to have gotten lost, so you really want the shadow that you strengthen the right side to be there as well. You want the viewer to think they can see in there. At the moment it does not read that way and you are missing stems which will help to make the viewer see deeper into the vase.

The house is very nice. I like the cat in the wondow. It adds a quirky flavour to the piece.

Well done on both :clap:

04-11-2009, 06:16 PM
Welcome PainterDeb
Zinnias make some of the best cut flowers. I agree with the above comments on this one.

On the second one I don't mind the cat in the window... but it looks a little bit large in my eye. Nice colors in the fall foliage.

Hope to see you around more.

04-11-2009, 06:18 PM
Hi Deb: some general comments. Your color choices are very nice but in your flowers it seems as if they lack vibrancy. It might be that the FolkArt acrylics lack brilliance.

In your flowers, what is the direction of your light? It isn't apparent in your flowers or vase. Strong shadows can add excitement to a painting. I like the diagonal behind the pitcher but you might put a ruler along that line. It looks as if it bends a little and perhaps some should show in the gap between the pitcher and the pitcher's handle.

The cat in the house's window does attract the eye and seems to be over sized. Since you are painting the house face-on in a two dimensional style, are you painting in a primitive style? Then an over sized cat would be appropriate. Is your light source face on in this painting?

I'm glad you're painting. I'm 70 and hope I can keep painting for another ten years.

Your color choices are delightful.

04-11-2009, 06:54 PM
Hi Deb, and welcome to the best forum at Wet Canvas.
You will receive a lot of comments/critiques here when you ask for them, but remember, they are always kind.
Seeing our art through others eyes really helps us all to stand back and look at a work with fresh eyes.
Re your paintings, I like both of them.
I agree with Carol re the jug and shading. That was the first thing I noticed as well. This one is my favorite of the two.
I might try to add a dash more colour/shading detail to the flowers and they would just pop then.
The house is very, very well done.
I think you can use a bit more spontaneity with the shrubs in the front. They seem too much alike and perfect.
You have a wonderful base with both these paintings.

I might suggest that you take the time to read (and look through) The Information Kiosk at the top of this forum. There is a lot of good stuff to be found in these threads
Within are a series of threads called The MTM Classroom. Each one is specific to a painting challenge to us, and is directed by a member here that is particularly good at the chosen subject. Interaction between the teacher and other members here helps, as step by step of all the practice paintings on a subject from everyone learning the subject are included.
They hold a wealth of information.

I came here a couple of years ago and was a novice at painting.
I am still a novice, but much better informed.:lol:
People here have helped me through many rough spots, and have helped me to improve in my art very much.
(Yep, you can teach Old Dogs new tricks!:wink2:)

04-11-2009, 08:32 PM
Thanks everyone for the warm welcome! I hesitated to start posting until I got better, but I decided I would learn faster getting feedback. If nothing else, you can always look at my paintings and think, "Well, at least I'm better than that!"

Jesslyn - Thanks for your comments. I added the cat as an afterthought, just to add a little detail but then I wasn't sure if I liked it or not...

Lillian - Yes, I see now the pitcher definitely needs some shading. Thanks for your nice comments.

Carol - Thanks for the official welcome! I agree, I need to work on the pitcher. I'm glad you like the cat, "quirky" sounds good.

Patti - I'm glad you could tell they were zinnias, a few of them were trying to morph into mums....or something.

Hal - I think I may be overmixing the colors and they are getting a bit muddy, I'm not sure yet. You're right about the diagonal line, it does need straightened! The light on the flowers was supposed to be coming from the left, but I guess I don't have much evidence of that do I? Some of my paintings do lean toward a primitive style, but the house just happened to be straight on. The light is supposed to be coming from the left. I guess that is shown on the shrubs, but not strong enough anywhere else. Hey, I hope I can paint until I'm 90!

Kathleen - Thanks for the welcome and your comments. It is good to hear I can still learn new tricks! Yes, I will have to check out all of the resources available on this site now. I peeked at the reference pictures, and they are fantastic!

04-11-2009, 08:57 PM
Hi, Deb!! Welcome to the acrylics forum!! I agree with most of the comments...but I will tell you this...."If my first paintings, looked this good...I would be ecstatic!!" A few tweaks, and you are there! Mine would have to be overhauled and totally redone...:lol:!

I came here a couple of years ago and was a novice at painting.
I am still a novice, but much better informed.
People here have helped me through many rough spots, and have helped me to improve in my art very much.
(Yep, you can teach Old Dogs new tricks!)

Amen to that...tho' Kathleen has about 6 months on me, I think. But we can learn!

04-11-2009, 09:06 PM
Hi Deb! :wave: A warm welcome from me as well!

You're doing fine, you've gotten some excellent suggestions.

I think I may be overmixing the colors and they are getting a bit muddy,

Part of the problem might be the craft paints themselves. I've heard they can sometimes become "muddy" when they are mixed. You might want to get a few tubes of artist (or even student) grade acrylics, and then add colors as you need them. I always watch for sales and stock up on colors I use the most of (or colors I've been wanting to add).

04-11-2009, 09:13 PM
Welcome. These are very charming paintings. I especially like the reflections in the windows of the house and the nice autumn colors. Nice work....Keep em coming!


04-11-2009, 10:08 PM
Susan - Thanks for the encouragement! ....and I must admit, my very first paintings are destined to be forever "wall-leaners" in the spare bedroom closet! I am keeping them for only one reason - in a couple of years I want to be able to pull them out and see that I have improved.

Dee - I have read that about regular craft acrylics, but I think the FolkArt Artists' Pigments are supposed to be better. But you're probably right. I have purchased a few tubes of Liquitex Basics that I haven't tried yet. I think they are supposed to be okay for beginners.

Jeff - Thanks for your comments. I like your quote.

04-11-2009, 10:15 PM
Right now I'm mostly using Liquitex Basics. I like them fine. Eventually I'd like to try other brands but Liquitex is the easiest for me to find & the most affordable in my area.

I've had great results though...no complaints.

04-12-2009, 09:25 AM
Both are well done!

Lady Carol
04-12-2009, 09:31 AM
....and I must admit, my very first paintings are destined to be forever "wall-leaners" in the spare bedroom closet! I think the majority of us have wall-leaners stashed in closets. I do. Boy you should have seen my first attempts at acrylic. I am thinking of submitting a couple of mine to the museum of bad art.

You may get a laugh out of this thread (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=538557) some of the contributions are just terrible

04-12-2009, 02:35 PM
I too started with craft acrylics. I soon bought a couple tubes of Liquitex Basics, and couldn't believe the difference.

They can be mixed, so buy a tube or two and try them, you won't regret it. The colors are WAY more intense and vibrant.

That being said, you did a WONDERFUL job. The reflections on the house are great. I won't even DARE post the stuff I painted with craft paints. For that matter, I won't post a lot of what I did for a LONG time after I started with liquitex, lol.

Keep up the good work. Paint with whatever you have, and don't be afraid to try something new as well.

04-12-2009, 03:02 PM
Susan - Thanks for the encouragement! ....and I must admit, my very first paintings are destined to be forever "wall-leaners" in the spare bedroom closet! I am keeping them for only one reason - in a couple of years I want to be able to pull them out and see that I have improved.

I must admit to having a closet full of "wall-leaners" (I like that term, I haven't heard it before). I do like to remind myself of things that I've tried before and consider how I could have made them better. Some I have had for years because they have gone unsold and I don't know why, so now they're wall leaners.

Even after 35 years I'll still produce a "wall-leaner" (I like that term, I going to steal it).

04-12-2009, 06:38 PM
Dee - That's good to know that you are currently using the Liquitex and are happy with them.

Linn - Thanks!!

Lady Carol - I looked briefly at that thread, I'll have to look at it later when I have more time - it looks pretty good! I did get to page 7, and already feel a lot better about my paintings! ;)

"Museum of Bad Art"...wow, that would be an experience, they might have to hand out packets of Brain Bleach when you leave. :)

Dan - Thanks for your comments and encouragement. I will try the Liquitex Basics for my next painting.

Hal - I'm not sure where I first read that term, "wall-leaners", it may have been this site...or an artist's blog, I can't remember exactly; but I knew immediately what they were referring to!

04-12-2009, 07:11 PM
Welcome to the Forum! Both paintings are very good starts to what I hope will be many years of enjoyment.
I agree with keeping some wall leaners as it provides a way to judge our rate of improvement over the years and where we are still lacking. From my own experience I'd suggest dating your paintings....when you've been painting a long time it becomes impossible to remember what year the painting was done. After years have slipped by, I forget what I painted long ago and who it went to..... just a tip that has proved helpful to me. Early efforts cheer me because they prove that improvement does come with practice. It's a journey well worth taking if you enjoy it and can see progress over the years. Enjoy and keep painting!

04-13-2009, 12:19 PM
For your first painting since high school, you are doing great. You already got a lot of good advice here, so I'll just say welcome to the board.

I have used Folkart paint for many years, but now I'm slowly switching to Liquitex.

04-14-2009, 09:16 AM
Deb, these are beautiful! No need to apologize for them, if you could only see my early work (and some of my new work...ugh), you would realize that. I like the way you've blended the flowers...and I agree with the consensus that the pitcher is a little flat, but that's certainly something that can be fixed. I love the house! I think you've done a wonderful job with it. So now that you've started, I expect you to keep posting!