Another Floral oil for your critique please

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on 31 Jul 2014 10:38 PM

Here is another peony I painted from a photo.  It is a 16x20 oil on stretched canvas.

I did it just before the one in my previous post.  As I mentined with the other, I love this flower and the petals but i'm concerned with the composition.  Should I have made it larger and have the petals go off the canvas edge?

Any feedback is greatly appreciated.   Sorry for the photo quality, I had a hard time with the lighting.


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Loriann46 wrote
on 31 Jul 2014 10:58 PM

This is beautiful! I think what you don't like about the composition is that the focal point is dead center and the flower seems to cut the canvas in half. Maybe add some shadowy leaves blending into your yellow background, bring some of that green above the flower. I love the effect you achieved in the yellow, it glows.

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on 2 Aug 2014 2:36 PM

That's really good feedback.  Now that you point it out, the mid-point horizontal line is obvious.   Thank you. 

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ceekay23 wrote
on 2 Aug 2014 9:47 PM

This is lovely Carla, I love the way you have caught the centre of the flower peeking out as the bud opens.  

I agree with Lorians post.  Move your backgound line and put it on the diagonal, diagonal = dynamism!  Perhaps make green/blue leaves slope up towards the left hand corner of the painting.  This would allow the yellow to glow still but also show more contrast between the green and the complementary pinkish red of the petals.  Keep on painting.

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on 4 Aug 2014 2:09 AM

This is excellent Carla!  As the focal point will be the center of attention, it i s better to paint thickly with sharp edges in this area. 

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on 4 Aug 2014 12:00 PM


The painting of the flower itself is very good. I would like to mention some things for you to consider in the future.

Spend some time making a few small composition sketches. These can be small and rough. With these roughs, you can explore the many possibilities for a pleasing picture design. If you are painting a single flower, you do not have to be concerned as much about establishing a center of interest. The viewer would have to be blind to miss the flower. However, you may want to focus attention on a part of the flower. This can be done subtly—possibly with contrast and lighting. Your main concern should be how to make the visual presentation interesting and full of the beauty you see. Showing the flower slightly of center is certainly a possibility. Trying some lighting effects is another strong option. Allowing additional room around the flower is a possibility and so is cropping in closer. Small roughs can be a big help in making these design decisions.

You should also make some color roughs. These should also be small, quick studies. However they will give you a chance to consider several color options. One of the problems in this painting is the yellow gold background. It is demanding more attention than it deserves. Compared to other colors, yellow comes forward while blues and other cool colors recede.

Always take your own photos. Also, study the work of artists you admire. Check Google and Bing images for "flower paintings" and "flower drawings".

What ever you do, do not make changes in this painting. I've made several suggestions because I think your work is very good and I think you are ready to take your work to the next level. A little more preliminary planning will help you do that. Consider each painting a step toward being the excellent artist you can become. Remember you should be your best critic—but never be too hard on yourself.

Best of luck

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