View Full Version : Iowa Revisted

05-09-2009, 07:39 PM


Title: Iowa Revisted
Year Created:
Medium: Oil
Surface: Canvas
Dimension: 15 inches by 40 inches
Allow digital alterations?: Yes!

This is a painting of a typical Iowa landscape. Co<br> as far as th eye can see. I was trying to communicate the organized structure the Iowa farmer has imposed on the rolling landscape. Even though it is man imposing his will, it is beautiful!

I am trying to finish the piece but feel something is wrong. I am so close to it I am having a hard time seeing it but feel my dissatisfaction has something to do with the clumps of trees and bushes that appear between the fields of co<br>. I would appreciate the opinion of others.

05-09-2009, 08:50 PM
This is beautifully painted, and you're about 10 yards from having a beautiful painting.

the clumps of trees and bushes that appear between the fields
I'd leave them alone. They read truly and fit into the context of your story nicely. No, there not on the golden spots, but with this format different rules apply, I thin.

My problem is the intense foreground colors. It's stealing too much attention and it doesn't support the tranquil mood you've established. You really don't need that intensity.. you've done a great job of pushing your mid and far areas back without them.
Reducing that intensity would be a good idea, I think.

05-10-2009, 12:48 AM
I think these are both wonderful. I hate to go against Bill's suggestion to tone down the foreground (he always gives wonderful critiques), but I wouldn't touch these. They are unique, and very special!

05-10-2009, 04:44 AM
These paintings are absolutely gorgeous. I bet they are really something in person.

05-10-2009, 04:59 AM
Michael you have painted an idyllic picture ....it's gorgeous ....I love that sky!

05-10-2009, 09:15 AM
If you stay on the forum (and I sure hope you do), you'll notice that some apparently bad paintings reap a surprising amount of praise. I believe this is because the forum tries to supply positive criticism which fits the evident level of the artist. So the better the painting, the more it can receive thoughtful advice to show how it can be even better. I produce this preamble because I don't want to lose the fact that you have produced an amazingly beautiful work with great skill. In trying to respond to your comment that "something is wrong", I wish it understood that I couldn't paint anything wrong like this. The way you've handled the sky in terms of randomized cloud forms is worthy of a museum and the depiction of the orderly fields is Bentonesque. I love the panoramic aspect ratio you've selected and feel that many more paintings should be done in this form. Your device of using some darkened foliage to frame the view is compostionally masterful in the way you've built it up asymmetrically on the left. Incidentally, is this from a photo, from life? If you tell me you made it up, we may have to vote you off the island. Oh, and some folks think you have two paintings so I'll mention that the second is just a blown up view of the first.

On to the critique.

The lighting seems uncertain. Looks like a sunny day but I can't tell where the sun is hitting and where there are shady areas. It's hard for me to suggest how to improve this area and I can't really put it into a photoshop. If you have a reference, it could be consulted but perhaps others can weigh in.

The orange elements are unusual. Are they flowers? Some sort of farmed plant? I dunno but I think they work great. They are debatable though.

Like Bill, I like your tree clumps. I think without them, the scene would become too bland. But the one on the far right is superfluous, I think. It's shown cut off and I prefer the idea of letting that side of the painting open up as a counterpoint to the near foliage framing device on the left.

Bill also commented on the intensity of foreground elements becoming a distraction. I think I agree but would say it differently. To me the problem is the high values rather than intensity of the flower like forms in the foreground.

Returning to the issue of uncertain lighting, I think the painting lacks the snap which would come from stronger highlights. The field is intrinsically mid value because of the green hues and you get your darks mostly in the foreground but the sky should be the lightest part of the painting.

My apended photoshop tries to illustrate my comments by bringing up the highlights, killing the partial tree clump on the right and dimming the foreground "flower" elements.


05-10-2009, 07:09 PM
I'm guessing (and this is only a guess) that the image you posted might have been a little dark from the camera?

I agree with Bob's suggestion that the far right clump of trees is probably not needed, but I wouldn't crop the image. I'd just paint them out or make them smaller. Ditto the light flowers in front. I wouldn't darken all of them, but possibly play a lot of them down a little.

I don't think the middle tree line is hurting you. I like it.

The sky is really gorgeous.

I think this is working very well.

Oh, and welcome to Wet Canvas!

05-10-2009, 07:30 PM
Great landscape. I would like to use the same preamble as TG did, in short I really like this painting and only comment as you seem to think there's something not quite right.

I too hate to disagree with Bill as he's an excellent artist and great with his critiques. But I like the foreground as it is, as it frames the scene wonderfully. What ever that French phrase is for pulling back the curtain to reveal the scene I think you've done it.

I have no problem with the bushes/trees you question.

The only thing that bothers me are the greens that are in front of the distance blue landscape. I know it should be pale but I feel too much yellow in those greens. I'm talking about the very furthest green fields. The green to blue transition of the landscapes in the distance seems too abrupt. If I look at the close up the far field in the dead center seems to have more of the green with the proper amount of blue I'd expect.

I don't know how oils work so I can't suggest a fix. In acrylics I'd glaze them very, very lightly with a pale blue wash.

BUT this may be the photo, or my monitor in real life it may be fine. I only put this as a suggestion as you seem to have see some issue with the painting. This hit my eye first, I may be wrong but it's what I see.

Again, great work.

05-10-2009, 09:47 PM
beautiful work! The workup TG has done illustrates his points well and the change is worth striving for.