View Full Version : Gull-ivers Beach Travels

D.W. Flint
08-12-2009, 11:01 PM

Title: Gull-ivers Beach Travels
Year Created:
Medium: Oil
Surface: Board
Dimension: 16X20
Allow digital alterations?: Yes!

Here's one I've been struggling with. Any suggestions will be much appreciated.

As above...

08-12-2009, 11:32 PM
I like the lighting.

08-13-2009, 02:21 AM
I think this is beautiful, and well-painted. I'm intrigued by the focus being on the birds - its different and well-done. My only nit: I would like to see the middle bird better anchored to the ground. Right now, the painting is playing with the eye, and it almost appears that he's floating, and that the far bird is ambiguous as to whether or not its closer or farther.

Great job :)

08-13-2009, 08:18 AM

Great sense of time and place.
Nicely painted, but I can see why you're struggling.
I've been studying composition of late and I've concluded that it's the most confounding thing we deal with in a painting.

Here's another look at it.

I'd like to see the surfer very small, way back up the beach so that he's below the lines of those hills. That way, he's not breaking the rhythm of your lines and he adds to the story as an observer of the the wonderful tension you've established between that central gull and the dog.

The dog could use just a few highlights to catch that nice light you've established.

What do you think?

08-13-2009, 08:32 AM
Bill did not define his compositional crit so I can perhaps suggest that it's not just a matter of eliminating the surfer but rather the fact that he's smack in the middle of the work. But I don't see you changing that.

I do think you need a few dabs to define the effect on the wet sand when the dog and surfer's feet enter it. This will help ground the figures.

The horizon is tilted.

You've done a wonderful job of blending in interesting hues but to me, the overall problem which you're having is too many midtones and too overall a low key treatment for a beach scene. It's as if the scene is lit as dusk but the interesting warm tones aren't there. I suggest adding layers to bring up the overall key and then building a much broader value range will be an improvement. I try to illustrate this in the apended photoshop.


08-13-2009, 11:34 AM
I think you have been given good advice from both Bill and TG. One thing I have learned is that working out compositional details at the beginning certainly helps when you start painting. I am studying that now as well. I have a feeling that your painting is brighter in real life than it is showing here. Either way you've got a nice emotion going on here. Keep up the good work!

D.W. Flint
08-13-2009, 05:44 PM
Mary, Sam, Bill, TG & "53",

Thanks for your input. Yes, my struggle was with the composition. I had already changed it several times and now you've given me more to think about. Nice thing about oils is you can alwalys keep smearing in around....


08-15-2009, 12:04 AM
Very thoughtful critiques. My color sense is not sharp enough to find fault there, the only thing that registers with me as a negative is the standing bird...he isn't needed and he disturbs the otherwise graceful rhythm of the painting. The two seagulls in various postures of action are neat. The dog is marvelously connected! And without that bird the figure of the man is in harmony with the scene...oh, and wet sand is usually very dark in value, darker than the dry sand.

08-15-2009, 02:26 PM
love the birds and the light on them...low in the sky...(the light that is)...well...the birds too I s'pose.....
I like Bill's rendition sans surfer....the interaction between gulls and dog is the whole thing for me........yd

08-15-2009, 11:15 PM
I looked at it and thought 'brilliant if only the surfer would vamoose'.

08-16-2009, 08:24 PM
I like it without the surfer Flint. The dog and the birds really tell the story. It's a wonderful painting........Lenore

08-17-2009, 12:08 AM
i agree with billmahler

08-17-2009, 12:56 PM
It's a great painting, without the surfer:)

08-17-2009, 02:26 PM
I would be concerned having no surfer...without him there the dog almost seems disconnected..but i also agree he is stealing some focus from the dog and gulls which is the focal point ( I think ) I would put him farther in the background making him smaller... this is all IMHO so take it with a grain of salt! I love the connection between the dog and gulls though!! I can feel the dogs want to take chase!! beautiful!!!:)

Capt Elaine
08-18-2009, 08:27 AM
Very nice painting... the only thing I can add is that the shadows of the person and dog are on the left, the birds shadows are on the wrong side (the right)... the middle an far bird need bigger shadows coming from the same light source as the dog and person.

08-18-2009, 07:00 PM
Capt, I think what you may be looking at is their reflections? they seem to have smaller shadows going the same direction as the birds as well..

08-18-2009, 10:36 PM
the gull up front adds quite alot to distance and space. The astute attention of the dog helps one appreciate the fore front with the gull. It seems that there is a mist that effectively rolls in and helps blur the background and keeps ones intrest to the fore front. The back ground is wonderful with the constant roll of the waves. I should say there is a triangle that holds the veiwer with gull dog and surfer that helps balance this art work...................NICE FLINT john.......................

08-19-2009, 12:42 AM
This is a wonderful painting - love the lighting and atmosphere you have achieved. The only thing that really disturbed me was the surfer right in the center - and when I saw Bill's version without the surfer the painting became perfect for me. You have been given some great advice - my advice to you is to think about all of it, but give yourself 24 hours before making any changes. Sometimes the best thing is to leave this one alone and just do another painting!

08-19-2009, 10:07 AM
This is so beautiful! I love the color, the lighting, the birds are particularly wonderful with those highlights on them. The thing that bugs me is the more or less even spacing between each animated element. There's no overlapping which tends to make things float off of the background. Perhaps some soft edges somewhere on the dog. I kind of like the surfer, but he could be more removed into the distance and maybe underlapped behind the birds???
So lovely really!

D.W. Flint
08-19-2009, 06:06 PM
Thanks for all your input. The consensus seemed to be to get rid of or move the surfer, so this is what I did. Here it is for what it's worth. Thanks again...http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/19-Aug-2009/108422-gullls_1.JPG

08-20-2009, 03:34 PM
Yeah, I like the size change of the surfer. You are probably finished with this now, however, I would suggest eliminating two of the gulls and increase the size of the remaining one -- see alt.


D.W. Flint
08-20-2009, 10:21 PM
I've got about a 1/4 inch of paint on this baoard already, but I like your suggestion so much I think I'll go ahead and do what you suggested. Thanks alot, much appreciated...Yeah, I like the size change of the surfer. You are probably finished with this now, however, I would suggest eliminating two of the gulls and increase the size of the remaining one -- see alt.