Saturday 4th Feb 2017 Submitted images critique

By   February 4, 2017

Thank you J and M for sending in your paintings – I am more than happy to comment.

If anyone is interested in asking me for comment, email your image to – I will not put online any names, just an initial. I will answer your request through this blog.

J, you write that you feel you have overdone the background. I think that your disquiet is because the centrally placed dried lotus is stopping us from enjoying the rest of the painting. You have achieved a beautiful soft feeling with the blues and mauves which contrasts with the heavily textured geometric lotus forms – the lyrical feeling of the work just has to be taken further, to include that centre lotus form. Everything in a painting needs to have connection – at the moment, we travel through the work but keep stopping at that centre form.

My suggestion is to counterbalance this strong central element by adding a strong vertical from the bottom left, up into the picture – perhaps painted in the darker greens already present. Also, do not be afraid of introducing some horizontals, even though the forms are vertical. Perhaps some wavy horizontal pale lines across the lower canvas, as suggested in my sketch, could be added. These almost-white movements will pick up on the lovely whites already in the work, and also take away from the central focus .

Lastly, I think some dry brushing across the texture at the top of the work, with a paler blue or lavender – this will help that top area to be not so dominant. Congratulations on a poetic and sensitive work, expressing your reaction to these interesting organic forms.

M, Congratulations on such a strong statement !  I would like to suggest that you create some connection between the yellow and red shapes with each other and with the background.

This can be done through colour. Perhaps, firstly dry brush some of that green that is in the yellow forms, across the texture already present in the red forms. The green will make them sing! Then add some blue, perhaps a gorgeous bright turquoise, into the work (a nodding acknowledgement to the blue background): some turquoise lines beside the orange lines already there; some dots along the red stripes running up the middle of the yellow forms, and dry brushed on top of the texture on the body of the yellow forms. Keep any adjustments that you make strong and bold, in keeping with the original concept.

Lastly, there is a danger with the right hand yellow form pointing the viewer into the top right corner, and then right out of the painting. To stop this, you could perhaps either:

  • soften the tip of that yellow form with green, and blur the edge of that tip with some of the background colour, so that it is not such a definite form, so bright against the dark blue background; or
  • introduce another smaller curved red shape across the whole right hand corner , which will block the direction of the yellow form leading the viewer out.

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