Watercolor Critique: "Sideways Glance"

The artist submitted two versions of this painting. Our critic first saw the unfinished version:

Eyes are the center of interest of most portraits, and I have two suggestions to keep the subject’s eyes in focus. First, the edge where the background meets the subject’s right eye could be sharper. Second, the iris of the subject’s left eye could be a bit larger so that it doesn’t divide the eye in half and make it appear somewhat awkward. As for other suggestions, I would place more color in the lips and include a few dark notes in the nostrils and corners of the mouth. The ear, too, needs a bit more detail and some darker tones.


Our critic was then shown the finished version of the painting. She made the following observations about the alterations:

Sideways Glance
by Sandra Ronda, 2008,
watercolor on aquaboard, 6 x 6.

Oh, that’s interesting. I see the artist did add more washes. She especially added color to the lips. The eye on the left side of the painting now has a sharp edge, which helps a lot. There’s now a squiggly blue line on that eye that I think is unnecessary; the artist could lift that out. She added more color to the iris of the right eye, which helps, but it still needs sharper detail to work as the center of interest. It might be useful to look at someone who is gazing off to see how much of the white of the eye would be visible on the inside of the eye. The painting still needs a dark note in the nostril and more detail in the ear. Overall, good improvements.

About the Critic
Joyce Washor
graduated from Rutgers University, in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and also studied at the Woodstock School of Art, in Woodstock, New York. The author of Big Art, Small Canvas (North Light Books, Cincinnati, Ohio), Washor teaches at the Scottsdale Artists' School, in Arizona, and at the Woodstock School of Art. She is represented by Horizon Fine Art, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming; The Crane Collection, in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts; and The Lawrence Gallery, in Scottsdale, Arizona. For more information, visit www.joycewashor.com and http://joycewashorsdailypaintings.blogspot.com.

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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.