Acrylic: CRITIQUE: "California Seascape"

Pay attention to lights and darks when painting landscapes.

by Shawn Gould

California Seascape
acrylic, 22 x 28.

The artist has done a nice job with the composition—the viewer’s eye follows the land out to sea and is brought back into the land with the waves. One area that needs reworking is the foreground grass—I am not sure why it is brown while the rest of the scene is green. I would suggest bringing the greens into the foreground and adding more darks as well. The values throughout the painting should be adjusted a bit to improve the aerial perspective. Darker shadows in the foreground and lighter areas in the background will improve the illusion of space in the piece.

About the Critic
Shawn Gould, a native of Iowa now residing in Northern California, studied biological illustration at Iowa State University, in Ames, and at the University of California, Santa Cruz. “It was a compromise,” he explains. “I felt I had to come out of school able to make a living, and this was the closest I felt I could get to becoming a fine artist.” During his illustration career he did biological and natural-history illustrations for the National Geographic Society and the National Audubon Society, among other organizations. Gould is a member of The Society of Animal Artists and is represented by Legends Fine Art Gallery, in Great Bend, Kansas, and Humboldt Artworks, in Arcata, California. For more information on Gould, visit his website at

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