Acrylic: CRITIQUE: "Moonlit Forest"

0704moonlitforest_202x176Be sure to locate the light source in the composition before you begin painting.

by Elizabeth Pruitt


Moonlit Forest
2006, acrylic, 24 x 30.

This artist demonstrates some good, basic painting skills; however, the artist might want to consider the following suggestions. First, painting the sky lighter and adding some gray near the horizon line will create an illusion of airiness and depth. Second, I am not sure where the light source or focal point is located in the composition; I can't tell if the trees are backlit, or if the light is coming from the side or front because the trees are painted with the same value and temperature. I also like the negative area between the trees on the right. However, you may want to consider varying the height of the trees to create a more interesting composition. Softening the edges of the trees as they recede will also create more depth in the composition. Finally, the painting would benefit from more temperature changes in the trees and grass. A warm light source produces cool shadows, and a cool light-source produces warm shadows. Be sure to determine the temperature of a light source when you begin a painting: Is the light source light or dark? Is it warm or cool?

About the Critic
Elizabeth Pruitt studied art at the University of Utah, in Salt Lake City, and with nationally known instructors in both fine and decorative art. She first established a professional career as a decorative painter, writing books, teaching, and selling paintings under the name Elizabeth Hayes. Since expanding her professional activities as a fine artist, she has gained associate membership in the Oil Painters of America and has exhibited her still lifes in shows organized by several galleries and art organizations. The artist is currently represented by Mountain Trails Galleries, in Park City, Utah and Palm Desert, California; Tallgrass Fine Art Gallery, in Great Bend, Kansas; and Highlands Art Gallery in Chester, New Jersey. Email Pruitt for more information.


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