Oil on board
24" x 20"

Views: 277

Albums: Workshop1

Add a Comment

You need to be a member of The Complete Artist to add comments!

Join The Complete Artist

Comment by Lynda Cookson on September 5, 2011 at 22:01

Thanks Richard, I'm really tickled you were able to give me a crit on "Autumn's Last Stand" ... actually, it's the first official crit I've ever had! It's really difficult to find folk who will crit your work when you're completely self-taught. I've printed the crit along with the painting and will pin it up in my studio as a useful tool.


You are so right about my "rush of creative excitement" ... that's me to a T and also one of the reasons I'm trying to learn to calm down and to paint landscapes ... although, at the same time, I don't want to lose my wild and rebellious creative paintings either. I'm pretty sure my Gemini personality will allow me to keep both!! :-)


It seems I've always sacrificed detail for energy ... and I see I need to learn to accomplish both in order to be a good painter.


I was pleased you liked the colour (although a tad misused by me) ... I'd thoroughly enjoyed using lemon yellow and purple to create what I thought would be a cooler warm (and then I over-used it!); and also using a cool red and purple - in their pure form on burnt sienna - instead of burnt umber, to darken the trunk, branches and some of the surrounding area.


I see completely what you mean about the further line of trees - and also about leading the viewer through from the foreground to the background. I had concentrated on strengthening the left and right side edges so that the eye didn't go too easily off the sides of the painting, but didn't think at all about the other direction!


Thanks hugely for this opportunity. I'm absolutely loving it, benefiting greatly by seeing the huge differences in all the other paintings inspired by exactly the same photograph, and soaking up all the comments.


Looking forward to next month's challenge - and it's going to be hard, hard, hard to not want to rush in and produce - so I think I may paint two paintings of the subject at the same time. One in front of me and one behind me. If I have to turn around to paint each one (instead of having them side by side), it should help to stop me from doing the same thing with both paintings. It will be quite fun to compare the two and see if I really can manage to do them differently.
Comment by Richard Robinson on September 5, 2011 at 18:05

Hi Lynda, thanks for your painting - it's wonderful to see your freedom of expression in this piece and it's clear that you enjoyed painting it. I like the idea of splattering paint to simulate the complex texture in the tree but perhaps it could have done with a few more thin branches to help with the illusion of detail. I like the idea of exaggerating the green in the sky as a counterpoint to the extra warm notes you've introduced but it would have been good to introduce more of that into the snow shadows to help create more unity in the painting. The key there is to get exactly the same value as the base shadow color you're painting into. It's good to see you've introduced some reflected light into the shadow side of the tree, although you might have used a cooler color there again to contrast the warm light.


It seems to me that the drawing has been sacrificed a little in the rush of creative excitement. There are a few things to look at...

1. the tree branches are conspicuously variable in thickness. Trees are very finely balanced constructions. Taking care and time in describing those fine relationships in thickness pays off in the end.

2. The foreground clumps of grass need to cast shadows which obey the same light source as the tree shadows do.

3. There is no definition in the shape of the snow in the foreground (shadow, halftone, light), which is equally a problem in being able to see and paint subtle value shifts.


When we're enjoying getting the paint on and playing around it's a very tricky thing to suppress that joyful intuitive side and switch on our critical analytical side in order to keep the drawing in check. If you conquer that it's then equally as difficult to switch off that mode and get back into intuitive mode. A good way to do this is to keep stepping back from the work which shrinks it, or viewing it in a mirror which shrinks and flips it, in order to see it from a new viewpoint which encourages us to knuckle down and analyze it with a critical eye. When things really aren't going right I find a checklist helps - "how clear is my drawing?, how much variation do I have in my edges, shapes, values, colors, lines, ? etc".


I do like your warm/cool color combinations here. If you had changed the warm color for the tree (grayed it down a little) so that it was different from the grasses this would have helped make the light more believable and added more variety to the color scheme. I love to push the color like this too but in this case the tree color looks a little too bright and warm compared to the grasses, so I would either gray the tree a little or add some purer oranges into the grasses. The shapes, sizes and spacing of your grasses could benefit from some more variation too - they look a little planted in rows. Also, have a closer look at how the edge of the foreground snow line breaks up in the photo - there are clumps leading into it which break it up more that what you have indicated here. Nature is full of variation and every time we simplify that variation in a painting I feel we take away from her, instead of praising her.


The distant trees might do well to be quietened down a bit - lightened in value to add more depth. At the moment it's jumping forward a little and competing with the tree.


The composition is solid although as I mentioned in another critique the dark band of grass does act as something of a barrier to the viewer  - it's nice to have ways through to the rest of the painting (an open gate, a break in the mist, a window in a wall, etc.) I love your brushwork, thick paint and color usage and look forward to seeing more of your work.



Comment by Vicky J. Bernard on September 5, 2011 at 6:23
I like your style too.  I really have to work at loosening up.  Probably my main problem (among others).
Comment by Lynda Cookson on September 3, 2011 at 3:50
Thanks Iwan .. I'm hoping to be able to loosen up with practice :-) Are you going to upload a painting for this project?


The Complete Artist is a friendly social network for all artists wanting to improve their painting.

Get my FREE Painting Lessons here!



  • Add Photos
  • View All


© 2024   Created by Richard Robinson.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service