Forums » Critique

I still am not sure I've arrived

    • 295 posts
    January 25, 2013 7:28 PM EST

    I painted this at an OPAS paintout at Scottsdale Farm in December. I was cold and feeling rather out of sorts. I just couldn't get the colours I wanted. I'm mostly an acrylic painter, and oils (needed in winter) always give me trouble. So this is what I brought home:

    I decided to try to recapture the way I thought I saw the colours. So this:

    I still felt the drama of the moment of brilliant light was missing, so I finished with this:

    I'm not sure something so radically altered can be considered plein air. However, I still feel something is missing. Any ideas, comments?


    • 26 posts
    January 26, 2013 8:33 AM EST

    Very interesting progression! You have certainly captured the light.  If you played with the lighting on the tree trunks  and varied the values then one tree will stand out as more important and create a more defined focal point. 

    • 24 posts
    February 19, 2013 8:21 PM EST

    You altered the original in temperature drastically...but it appears you where still in the plein air "influence".   It has a compelling sense of mood and light but I am missing a focal, or resting place.  Perhaps the largest tree has too many high contrasts...the dark lines on the upper branches perhaps toned down?  The light on the rail fence bring me to this element, and I would like to linger there before traveling up to the sky lights but am distracted by those darker contour lines on the 3 left branches.

    • 295 posts
    February 21, 2013 11:48 AM EST

    Some great comments. I'm going to look it over in light of these and see what I can do.

    • 26 posts
    February 22, 2013 10:47 AM EST

    Just a thought. Perhaps you would consider starting fresh on a new canvas.  I know I can overwork a piece by going in to it to change something and it looses it's freshness.

    • 295 posts
    February 22, 2013 11:16 AM EST

    Hi Nancy,

    I've done both many times. I've reworked some boards up to fourteen times before I hit it right. Other times I've left a scene at a certain stage and have used it as my reference for a new board, keeping in mind the vision I was going for the first time around. Both ways have worked and both ways have failed.

    • 295 posts
    March 3, 2013 3:30 PM EST

    I guess it would depend upon how much reworking was involved each time. I wouldn't consider any board I painted plein air anymore if I changed it by more than 25% in total. On my example above, the first photo was taken under different lighting set up and the colour is shifted way to the cold side. In reality, it looked much closer to the second shot.

    In the second frame, I did the photo lighting correctly and so the painting shows much better. What I did with paint in the second photo is to brighten the highlights and fix some sloppy brushwork. In the third shot, I changed the temperature of the highlights and deepened the shadows. I would still call this plein air.

    Since the comments above, I've done a few more minor adjustments, but haven't had time to photograph it and post it. The result has still had less than my arbitrary 25% change in it, so if it was a finished piece, I'd still consider it plein air.

    • 295 posts
    March 8, 2013 12:47 AM EST

    Hi Zan,

    I was attracted by the interplay of light and shadow on the fence leading up to the large tree. There was something larger-than-life about the light on the fence.

    Although I kept my palette and board in shadow, the light was so bright around me, it made the colours on the board seem brighter than they were. Now I think I have the colours and light about at the level they were, however, I now want to exaggerate the reality to demonstrate the feeling of light as opposed to simply showing the reality of the light.


    • 295 posts
    March 8, 2013 5:31 PM EST

    Hi Zan,

    Yes, this would place the emphasis squarely on the fence and tree. If I pursue this, it will take a considered hand not to go too far. I would have to be carful that the effect doesn't point to itself and say, "See what I did. I made you look at me."

    I'm going to think over all of the input from everyone and make some new moves, perhaps even tonight.

    I was going to go to an art show opening tonight, I have work in two shows, however, they are both too far away. Paint Ontario in Grand Bend and Quest Gallery's Juried show in Midland.

    I think I'll stick around and paint.


    • 51 posts
    March 8, 2013 5:51 PM EST
    My eye wants to travel along the fence, up the tree and across the gorgeous sky and off the page. If it were mine I would be tempted to lighten the highlight on the leftmost tree just a little to bring the viewer back down to the fence. I would then sign it and call it done.

    Great job Keith.
    • 295 posts
    March 9, 2013 8:40 PM EST

    Here's my latest tweak.

  • March 10, 2013 9:46 AM EDT

    Hi Keith:

    Nice panel you're working on. I really love work in complementary colours and the composition is compelling. The only thing that hits my eye as a little off is the temperature of the light on the fence rails.To me the story here is the light and the light there to me is cold where the rest is very warm,  I guess my eye goes to the rails and gets a stuck. Of course it could to be photo too.

    • 295 posts
    March 10, 2013 4:54 PM EDT

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for your nice comment.

    As far as the colour of the light on the fence goes, it might be your screen. On my screen the photo is similar to the real colours. The light on the fence posts is a hot orange yellow.


    • 295 posts
    March 16, 2014 8:22 PM EDT

    Hi Don,

    I've electronically removed the fence and made the fence area foliage.

    Is this what you meant?