View Full Version : my first public critique, be gentle!!

03-05-2000, 01:24 AM
Ok, I hope this works! this is a mixed media, (pencil/watercolor) of a favorite hiking spot of my family's in New Mexico. I had reproductions made of it years ago, so any changes suggested are too late, but I would like to have the input anyway. Maybe I can figure out why I haven't been able to sell many of them!! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

thanks to all ahead of time, Paula

[This message has been edited by manlewis (edited March 05, 2000).]

[This message has been edited by manlewis (edited March 05, 2000).]

03-05-2000, 02:08 AM
I love it, but what is the white thing going up into the sky, above the rocks? Besides that, it's great!

03-05-2000, 02:19 AM
thanks for your quick reply electra! The white thing is supposed to be clouds! This was one of my first attempts in watercolor and clouds were difficult for me at that point. The day I took the ref. photos for this one, the clouds were literally in a line going up into the sky above the rocks, I loved the way they pointed to the rock in the middle which in turn points back into the sky.

03-05-2000, 03:55 AM
you have a very nice texture going on here. it's,,,,,,,,electric. there's also a nice bold pattern you're achieving with the brush.this pattern can become quite dynamic. i'd like to see an evolution of this piece.....milt

03-05-2000, 05:44 AM
Fantastic, love the rocks expecially - "electric" as milt said. Agree with the other posts; the white cloud thing is a bit odd. What strikes me is that the single bush in the middle works like a focus point; when looking at the painting "my eye" comes back to it again and again - I don't think that was the intention.

03-05-2000, 04:40 PM
Paula, Milt started with "electric" and I found that to be fitting too - he may have another explanation; but I think it is due to crisp colors/contrast - uh... like electric sparks. Oh, and unless it is obvious; I mean "electric" in a very positve way.

About the bush...
I think it becomes the focus because there is not other strong focus point. You said in your post that you liked the way the white vertical cloud contrasted with the upward pointing rocks. So... I guess that is what your painting "is about" - could you emphasize this more to make it the focus?
Just removing the bush will not help I think (although it will not steal focus http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif anymore).

I would try to alter the lightning on the rocks to make the center more interesting. I would also attempt to add some rocks on the grass - both to connect the rock part with the grass part, and to lead the eye towards the center.

Patti, had a similar "focus problem" with the painting "Summer Place" - check it out:

03-05-2000, 04:44 PM
OK.. I think I figured out what it is about the clouds that doesn't make them look like clouds. Perhaps if they had some perspective it would help.

See, at the top edge, the two lines of clouds are the same width as they are when they intersect the rocks. maybe if they were narrower at the rocks it would help them to read as clouds more? As it is, they look like they are coming straight down into the rocks.

I agree about the middle bush being a focus-grabber, but no idea what to do about it. Since it's in watercolor, it would be difficult if not impossible to remove it.

03-05-2000, 05:23 PM
A VERY!! nice painting!..I will agree with bruin70..your textures..all different..the handling of the sky..rocks..and foreground...very, very nice.
(Makes me want to walk up the hill toward the line of rocks!!)..
Great to see you in chat (neighbor!)..and yes, we (my wife and I), will have to get together soon. Looking foreward to meeting Aaron. How large is this piece?, and (oh boy!) if you still have it, can I see the original!!!! I want to see more of your clouds..6months or a year from now..I'll bet the will be even MORE dramatic! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

Bruce Rohrlach
03-05-2000, 05:36 PM
Nice job Manlewis -
The cloud - is it not the base of a "twister"?

03-05-2000, 05:50 PM
the central bush is ENCIRCLED by the other bushes,etc ,,,so there's a bullseye effect. it also is almost tangent to the rocks, not overlapping, so there's a bit of tension there. overlap the rocks with that bush and add other bushes near it,,,even overlapping it......milt......i like the clouds

03-05-2000, 05:59 PM
MY!! Thanks for all the wonderful responses! I am truly happy to hear that the great Bruin likes my work!! No, the clouds are not the base of a twister, but they are odd, no? this is how they were that day, I will have to dig out my reference photo and post it so you can see. Michael, I do still have the original to this one, so yes, you can see it! I will bring it with me when we finally get a chance to meet! and you should know, my clouds have greatly improved since I did this painting(1996) I've finally been able to control my brush and the paint so that it does what I want!! Please see the other painting I posted under "still working on this one"
thanks again for all the feedback!!!


03-05-2000, 06:14 PM
I really think you were quite sucessful with this one...but I do agree with Electra. If the clouds were in perspective, they would appear to receed in the lower sky and draw you eye right through the painting. I think the most interesting section is the light and dark handling of the rock...nice contrast with the sky. You may want to be a little more experimental with color on the rocks if you do another version. Really warm up the sunny side, and purple/blue cool the shady. Don't be too literal with color, especially if you are working from photos. Good luck with the next one, can't wait to see more.

03-05-2000, 08:06 PM
thanks again for the feedback,
what do you mean by be experimental with the color on the rocks? The rocks are done in pencil, on purpose, there is no color to them. I wanted to emphasize the texture. I was considering doing the next one with some color washes under the pencil however! You must have read my mind!! as soon as I find the reference photo I will post it, the colors on the rocks really are cool! but it was the texture that initially intrigued me!


03-06-2000, 12:56 AM
ok, first of all, as you can see I changed my nick, still me though, only less misleading!! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

Thanks for the comments, I know what you mean about the center bush! I would love to have some suggestions on what to do to make this better. I do have an idea for another similar piece, but it would be nice to get it right this time!! Could you explain to me what you mean by electric? just curious.

Thanks again for the feedback, I think I will post another one now!!


03-08-2000, 12:27 AM
Most of the post have hit the nail on the head in every way, with the strengths and weaknesses of the piece.

I have just one comment to add. Don't be afraid of experimenting with color and your mediums. The color and separation of mediums seems very deliberate. My guess if you took a good look at those rocks they weren't just grey as in your graphite pencil, I would venture to guess that there would be some blue, reds, and possibly some greens and yellows in those real life rocks. There is nothing in life that is just grey, especially in nature, there are always hues of grey, slightly yellow or slightly purple or any of the other colors in between.

I guess what bothers me the most is the deliberate separation of mediums. You have a band of watercolor across the top, then a band of graphite rocks, then again watercolor landscape in the front. Maybe bringing some graphite into another part of the picture such as the branches on the bushes, and a bit of watercolor into the rocks would bring some unity to the mediums in the piece. Compositionally, the piece is very strong. I am at a disadvantage here because I can't see the piece live, but knowing how the two mediums typically work, that would be my guess. I am not talking about huge changes just enough to bring unity to your different mediums.

You may want to look up Ad Reinhardt's works in black from the 1960's. (Library would have good reproduction in print) He worked with color fields. His paintings gave the effect of infinity, vastness and overwhelming emotional impact simply through vast fields of color. His color theories can be applied in any scale and any style.

Books to look for:
Lippard, Lucy R.; 25 Years of Abstract Painting, 1960
Seitz, William C.;Abstract Expressionist Painting in America, 1983

[This message has been edited by Mellryn (edited March 08, 2000).]

03-08-2000, 07:37 AM
i think the clouds are dynamic. there's a few ways to fix your comp. one is to move the bush. seeing as how it's already there, another option is to align it with other bushes that move it off center. here's two examples....play around...milt


"he who thinks he know all and knows nothing is king in a kingdom of one,,,,,or a critic" - the kobe

03-08-2000, 11:42 PM
Thanks Milt! The example on the right really does it for me! It even pops the foreground out, putting the rocks into the middle ground where they belong. When I first saw it I thought you did move the rocks back,...amazing what a couple of bushes can do!! Even though I've already made prints of the original, I'm going to go ahead and change it, It looks so much better!

Paula http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

03-09-2000, 12:36 AM
Paula, I love this!! I live in central Florida & during our storm season, one might just see clouds in that type of formation...(but we have no rocks) haha. the mixture of water color & pencil works beautifully for this piece. keep up the great work! See at the AW meeting!... Cheryl

03-10-2000, 12:57 AM
I think milt solved the problem. The bushes were also all separated and should be grouped together. Another thing that I would like to see is a little more color gradation moving back into the picture.It seems a little bland color wise to me.

06-20-2000, 08:34 AM
Ummmm. I agree and disagree. On one hand Milt's first proposed example does show that perhaps the bushes are a little sparse. However, I noticed in the original DEFINITE diagonals, yet subtley so. The more definitively placed bushes create diagonals which are too strong and, sadly, contrived. So a couple more bushes are certainly called for, but the directionals are already strong enough.

06-20-2000, 07:06 PM
I love clouds. That's one cloud formation I would have liked to have seen.
Nice picture.

06-20-2000, 07:50 PM
Looks good to me ! Well done ...lets see more..Jazzm