Oil Critique: "Arizona Madonna"

Arizona Madonna
by Shirley Quaid, 2008, oil, 16 x 20.

This portrait is both well designed and well painted, but the background does not showcase these strong elements. The painting’s best qualities are somewhat hidden by the choice of value in the background on the right side. One of the most expressive lines in this portrait is along the right side of the head. Currently, that line is slightly lost because the values in that part of the face are similar to the nearby values of the background. The line down the cheek and neck would be emphasized if the background on the right side were changed to an even lighter value.

Arizona Madonna with our critic’s suggested alterations.

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.