1/4 sheet Arches 140 cold press paper
I wanted to try a watercolor since viewing so many lovely ones.

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Comment by Edith McClelland AEA UWA WCSI on March 31, 2012 at 18:57

Many thanks for your kind compliments Nancy - I'm so glad you found this helpful.

I really feel you should keep this painting just as it is.... that way you have a 'record' of your progress as you move through the learning curve. The beauty of watercolour is it's freshness and clean colours, both of which you have captured here - to try and 'fix' anything, you stand to spoil what is really a lovely painting!

Any praise due here is all for you - it was your hard work, not mine.  You have the talent to produce wonderful work in watercolour and my only advice is practice, and more practice.

Happy painting! E

Comment by Nancy Sands on March 31, 2012 at 18:39
Oh, Edith, you really did do a wonderfully brilliant critique. I really can see what you explained. Some, I think, are too late (the difficulty with watercolor) : moving the orange and strawberries, that is unless you have a suggestion. It's funny, in my pleine aire watercolor class, the teacher has been emphasizing edges. I guess I ignored her instructions, I definitely see the need for softening the edges to make things recede. I'm glad you told me about how to paint the strawberries. I couldn't figure out why I couldn't get the color right. I actually did put seeds on them, but they blended in. I forgot to leave white paper so they could appear. Maybe I should try your idea and scratch with an exacto knife since they were so light. Lightening up the left side and darkening the left should be easy to do. I'm going back to the drawing board, and when done, I'll post it again. Thank you so very much for taking the time to so thoughtfully critique this painting. It is obvious that, not only are you a marvelous artist but you are also are a wonderful teacher.
Comment by Edith McClelland AEA UWA WCSI on March 31, 2012 at 11:25

Hi Nancy,

As promised, here's your critique.

First up I just want to say this is a lovely crisp watercolour!

The composition successfully holds the viewer within the painting and the ivy brings us back round to the main focal point, those juicy oranges. I have really only a few small suggestions for an even better composition - that is, to move the main orange slightly so that it overlaps the edge of the jug a little more, and likewise, shift the two strawberries up so that they connect more with the jug.  In my [humble ] opinion, everything else is well placed.

Your colours are strong and clean and your darks are beautifully charged with rich colour.  The light is clearly coming in from the left so you might want to darken the upper right a little more to further emphasize this [use the same colours, just layer more glazes to add depth].  I would definitely 'lose' the hard line between the dark background and the edge of the white cloth, particularly towards the right and the top edges of the two right hand ivy leaves could be just a little softer - these small adjustments would add even more depth to this lovely painting. 

I can see where you have used both the glazing and over/under painting techniques we were talking about... your apple looks crisp and shiny and the jug is beautifully painted - you have successfully conveyed to the viewer that this is a white ceramic jug! The three fruits at the front are clearly strawberries.... they are well drawn but the colour is a little too cool.  Try under painting with warmer colours such as cadmium red and yellow [faded out to near white paper just by adding a damp brush for the lightest area at the tops] and use the deeper cool alizarin crimson and just a very small touch of cobalt blue for the darks.  The over painting would be scarlet red, cadmium orange with perhaps just a touch of lemon yellow and, of course as you have done, lift back some of the top colour for your highlighted areas.  To achieve an even better glint of light, gently nick the paper with a sharp knife or blade and, to add more realism [if you wish], don't forget the tiny seeds on the surface of the strawberries [don't cover them all with small seeds - less is more;  let the viewer's eye fill in the details].

Only one other observation would be to differentiate the light and dark sides of the apple, ivy leaves and the oranges by adding another glaze to accentuate the shadow sides a little more and lighten the shadows on the left hand lit side of the white cloth to further emphasize your light source.

Nancy, you should be VERY pleased with this watercolour... I think it is beautifully painted and your  colours are wonderfully clean.... well done!

If you need any clarification or have any other questions, just yell...... take care, E.

Comment by Nancy Sands on March 30, 2012 at 9:55
Thank you so much, Dor....smiles back at you.
Comment by Dorian Aronson on March 30, 2012 at 1:03

I love your leaves!  A beautiful painting Nancy............Smiles........... : ))

Comment by Ann Turner on March 28, 2012 at 19:31

The orange slice is so fresh and juicy, yum ! Congratulations on being brave and trying something new:]

Comment by Nancy Sands on March 28, 2012 at 14:11
Hi Edith, I'm so sorry to put you to all that trouble. Thank you for your complement. It means a lot. I do not think that I applied enough of your instruction. Your paintings are so rich and layered. I always feel that I could do more to bring things up to a higher level. You are there. I have a long way to go.
Comment by Edith McClelland AEA UWA WCSI on March 28, 2012 at 13:47

Hi Nancy,  I just wanted to let you know I've stupidly pressed the wrong button and wiped out the critique I prepared for you..... it's getting a bit late here so I'll repeat it tomorrow for you - sorry!

HOWEVER, in the meantime, I can tell you that this is a lovely crisp watercolour - you should be very happy with it - I'm impressed at how well you have put the techniques we talked about into practice!!

"Talk" to you tomorrow, E.

Comment by Nancy Sands on March 28, 2012 at 12:12
Thank you, Diane. I am taking a plain aire watercolor class, and yes, sometimes this medium gives me fits. I really feel more comfortable with oils. This was challenge.
Comment by diane boucher on March 28, 2012 at 11:12

Lovely work Nancy. I know nothing about water color but I know this is pretty :) Looks hard to do!


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