Acrylic: CRITIQUE: "Sunset Edith", "Solvang" and "Stream"

Tsai1stream_600x474Our critic discusses the importance of shadows and foregrounds when considering a painting’s composition.

by John Budicin

Sunset Edith
The artist needs to consider how the shadows are placed in this painting. The interior shadows seem a bit dark, and all the shadows in the painting should show more detail.  Also, the chair and stool shadows are fighting for the same attention. My eye bounces back and forth from the chair to the stool, which keeps me from seeing the rest of the painting. I would eliminate one or both of these shadows.

Sunset Edith

The artist captures the late-afternoon light very effectively in the painting, but some of the shadows are too dark. I would suggest incorporating more of a foreground into the painting’s overall composition. A little more foreground will make the buildings look less crowded and keep them from sitting on the very bottom of the painting. This change in composition will also keep the painting from looking as if the artist ran out of space on the canvas.


The artist should consider the composition of the stream. If I follow the course of the stream, it takes my eye out of the painting. In the upper left section of the painting, where the stream seems to run off the canvas, the artist should indicate a change in direction. One suggestion is to have the stream make a right turn to bring the viewer back into the painting. The artist should also consider adding temperature changes to the grass. For instance, choose warmer colors for the foreground and cooler colors as the grass recedes. 


About the Critic
John Budicin's plein air and studio landscape paintings achieved numerous top awards from esteemed art competitions.  He also was featured in several articles published by national magazines including Southwest Art, Art of the West, American Artist, American Artist Workshop, International Artist, and The Artist Magazine. In addition, his work was reproduced in the following books: 200 Great Painting Ideas for Artists, Enchanted Isle' History of Plein Air Painting in Catalina, and From Sea to Shining Sea A Reflection Of America. Budicin is the president of the Plein Air Painters Of America, a signature member of Oil Painters of America, and also is a member of the Laguna Plein Air Painters, Western Rendezvous of Art, and The California Art Club.  For more information, visit his website at

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