Acrylic: CRITIQUE: "Reflecting at Sunset"

Painting light accurately can be a challenge in landscape painting.

by Shawn Gould

Reflecting at Sunset
2006, acrylic, 24 x 24.

This is a beautiful painting with nice light, however the sun's highlight is a little too bright. Since the light falls in the center of the composition, it becomes too much of a focal point and prevents the eye from moving through the scene. The artist should also consider making the shadow lighter in the center of the painting, especially between the trees.

Given the light source, there should be some light passing through the trees, which creates more defined shadows across the ground. The reflection on the water is effective, but the warm ochre color on the right seems out of place with the color of the trees. The artist may also want to add a few more details to the foreground grass to make it less distracting.

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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2 thoughts on “Acrylic: CRITIQUE: "Reflecting at Sunset"

  1. I sent in an image of a painting for critiquing a few months ago. Haven’t had it critiqued yet. This “reflecting at sunset” has been on here before. Thanks Bob

  2. If you’r part of a weekly art group with an insturctor for guidance, and if he has given no input at all can these painting be submitted for a critique?

    Thank you