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Old 03-10-2019, 06:45 PM
LisaOlivarez LisaOlivarez is offline
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Need help with composition




Hello, I am struggling with this oil painting. It's 30 x 40"

Critiques and help are sought! Thank you!!!!
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Old 03-10-2019, 08:24 PM
Aussiesrus1 Aussiesrus1 is offline
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Re: Need help with composition

The clouds are beautifully painted - Well Done !

A suggestion would be to include a hint of distant rain descending, about 1/3 along, underneath that dark cloud mass - This may break & counteract those directional lines receding into the distance. - A touch more blue sky on the right may help with color balance - Hope that helps. Everything else - Super - Well Painted !

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Old 03-10-2019, 08:36 PM
kentiessen kentiessen is online now
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Re: Need help with composition

The composition has many large diagonals (that create large arrow shapes) that push the eye strongly to the far left edge of the piece. When we arrive at that area, what is found? To me, the most attracting areas are the textures/shapes of the clouds and the clump of trees at the top of the bank.

If one cropped to focus more on them, the attention balances more, I believe:

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Last edited by kentiessen : 03-10-2019 at 08:44 PM.
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Old 03-10-2019, 08:41 PM
ntl ntl is offline
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Re: Need help with composition

/\ agree.
My monitor is showing a dark purple sky V left. It's pretty strong. Consider lightening it.
Are you thinking of any features on the sand--rocks, boulders. grasses, logs, tracks, critters?
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Old 03-10-2019, 08:45 PM
LisaOlivarez LisaOlivarez is offline
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Re: Need help with composition

Thanks, Aussiesrus1. I had just painted over a touch of blue on the right side just above the bluff. I ran out to the studio and wiped it off. You're right. It's more balanced. Thanks! And thanks for the other ideas. I will think about the rain idea, have some photos of a rainstorm out over the water. This is Lake Michigan, by the way.

kentiessen, that's a very interesting way to look at the image. Thank you for taking the trouble to make the diagram. I think it may be the color of the sand and the line where the water meets the sand that is troubling me. What do you think? I think I will look at in black and white. Thank you!!!!
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Old 03-10-2019, 08:50 PM
LisaOlivarez LisaOlivarez is offline
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Re: Need help with composition

Now I see the cropped image. Yes, that makes sense to me. I can't really crop it, maybe can balance it out in another way with figures or critters, as ntl says. I will also look at the purple "V".

Very helpful, everyone.
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Old 03-10-2019, 10:57 PM
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bartc bartc is offline
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Re: Need help with composition

Your land masses are very regular. Though they curve a bit they feel rigid. Consider breaking them up more at the grass line, the base of the dune/cliff (if that's what you're depicting) and the edge of the water. And there's something too regular about the 4 rounded trees on the left of the hill top, too.
By contrast your clouds look great and more natural.
To me they seem as though they are two different paintings. It's the bottom 40% that doesn't make sense to me the way the top 60% holds together.
I'm not at all bothered by the dramatic perspective taking your eye off the left side of the canvas. If you cover the bottom 40% with your hand, the top, including the developed bush and the bit of the dune/cliff top with the whole sky works well. Below that is what I don't see working as well.
Just an opinion.
Here's what I'm talking about:

Last edited by bartc : 03-10-2019 at 11:14 PM.
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Old 03-11-2019, 03:54 AM
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Re: Need help with composition

I quite like the painting, the clouds are sensational ... Michael's suggestion tho is the one
I would go with as well.
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Old 03-11-2019, 06:17 PM
LisaOlivarez LisaOlivarez is offline
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Re: Need help with composition

Thanks, jmax. I'm still working on it. Here's the latest. I'm going to put it away for a while now to dry. Not finished yet
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Old 03-12-2019, 10:47 AM
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Re: Need help with composition

The sky in this is brilliant!!

I agree with what Bart C, said and while I see what you did is an improvement, the dune line still reads more like a breaking wave than a land mass. I think the dune ridge line needs to be varied even more for it to read more natural. Think about some of it varying not only in height, but also areas coming forward and other areas more recessed. Dunes don't erode evenly because ocean waves don't hit the beach evenly. There will pockets where the erosion is more pronounced. I think that will help the dunes read better to the viewer.

Here is a link through iStock photo I hope you find useful. https://www.istockphoto.com/photo/se...5470-142803079
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Old 03-12-2019, 11:02 AM
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Re: Need help with composition

Work on your beach and cliff some more. The grass line at the top should be more varied as suggested above by Randy. The bottom has no definition, and not even a smaller sand dune would look like that. The beach needs more variation. You've improved the tree line on the left and the water line, I can see. Keep going, unless you're sick of it or sick of our suggestions.....

Last edited by bartc : 03-12-2019 at 11:05 AM.
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Old 03-12-2019, 03:39 PM
LisaOlivarez LisaOlivarez is offline
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Re: Need help with composition

Thanks for the suggestions. I will continue to work on it! Here's my reference photo. I took it looking North along Lake Michigan, I believe at South Haven. I have made the dune way too high, but it's pretty regular in form. Lots to do, thanks again!
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Old 03-12-2019, 04:00 PM
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Re: Need help with composition

Quote:
Originally Posted by LisaOlivarez
Thanks for the suggestions. I will continue to work on it! Here's my reference photo. I took it looking North along Lake Michigan, I believe at South Haven. I have made the dune way too high, but it's pretty regular in form. Lots to do, thanks again!

That is very helpful. Yes, your dunes look more like a cliff and that's confusing, as dunes have a different form.

In your photo, note how the grasses/foliage hangs down and breaks up the wave-like form of the regular dune structure visually. YOu might want to emphasize that more.

I can see that your dune in the photo meets the beach in a way that gives very little definition to the transition in planes. Note that a ways toward the left side the dune is actually broken, and you may want to add that into the picture.

The other thing compositionally that I note is that your dune is not only too high, but it's also creating a horizon too high compared to the compositional perspective in your reference photo.

Not that you ever need to do photorealistic imitation at all. But you did ask what may not be working and if you are doing that comparison, those things are apparent to my eye.
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Old 03-12-2019, 07:58 PM
LisaOlivarez LisaOlivarez is offline
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Re: Need help with composition

I definitely did ask, and am grateful for the help. I need to let it dry for a while and will come back to it in a week or so. All good suggestions!
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