Charcoal Critique: "Landscape"

by Dean M. Carpenter, charcoal, 42 x 66.

This dramatic landscape is enhanced by the artist’s skill with charcoal. I am attracted to the texture of the foreground and the mass of middle-ground hill against the sky. If the texture in the middle-ground hill were played down—not eliminated, but made subtler—the viewer could better feel the mass of the land against the sky. When the foreground and middle ground are equally articulated, you lose the sense of distance.

The hierarchy of highlights is also relevant to this drawing. The highlights on the distant trees and on the grass in the middle ground are as light as the highlights on the grass in the foreground. Selectively darkening some of these highlights could further improve the drawing.

The artist's drawing altered by our critic to illustrate her suggestions.

About the Critic
Dawn Whitelaw has studied painting with Scott Christensen, Cedric Egeli, Jim Pollard, and Everett Raymond Kinstler. In 2002 she received the Award of Excellence and Best of Show in an international competition sponsored by the Portrait Society of America, and she has exhibited her portrait, landscape, and still life paintings in juried shows organized by the Cumberland Society of Painters, the American Academy of Women Artists, and the Phoenix Historical Museum.

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About BrianRiley

Brian Riley is the managing editor for the American Artist family of titles (American Artist, Watercolor, Drawing & Workshop) and has been part of the AA team since 2003. He first became interested in art as a child, specifically drawing, but drifted away from the visual arts as he grew older, gravitating towards writing while in college. His position at AA has offered him the opportunity to reinvigorate his early passion and continue his education.  

3 thoughts on “Charcoal Critique: "Landscape"

  1. Since I took the time to disagree with the critique of the previous work ‘Kevin’, let me say here I think this critique of ‘Landscape’ is spot-on. Currently I am slogging through problems with an oil landscape of mine, and find these observations clarifying. I will apply them to my own work- thank you for the insight!

  2. I also disagreed with an earlier critique and I also think Dawn is right on the money with this one. Giving a sense of depth by un-cluttering specific elements in the field of vision is the way to create interest or focus of specific areas of your composition.

  3. I love the left side of this work. The whole composition is more interesting and has an improved sense of depth if the right third or so of the painting is removed.