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Art Critique April 2012

Thursday night’s critique was filled with interesting work, and great sidebar discussions.

We started off with Thom’s series of acrylic paintings focusing on global warming.  These consist more of a visceral idea of the phenomenon, than a political statement of this condition; though science is always present in the work.  They provoke ones emotive response to color and the since of order created through line.  We thought these were wonderfully thought provoking pieces, which requires a deeper look in the mark-making and color variety present in the motif.  The ‘G’ was concerning due to its dominant size.  Thom thought that the ‘G’, along with the title, will provide the viewer an insight to the series’ theme.  We could see that, but the formal introduction of the ‘G’ into the space needs similar texture and color in order to harmonize within the whole of the painting.  We also suggested to taking a look at the overall color theme.  We all have had color theory training and the discussion on color was very interesting (and fun).  The image you see was worked on since the critique; the dominance of the yellow and high key value of the negative space adds force and impact to the motif.  [DISCLAIMER: critiques are opinions; Artists are at their full discretion whether to accept or reject suggestions, which is why I often use the term ‘suggestion’.]  In conclusion, the work is provocative on a social level and interesting on an aesthetic level.

Ron is a new member to the group and he brought in a watercolor that used the Seal Beach Jetty as the subject.  We were all astonished by the detail of the cliff (or jetty) objects.  These objects were very interesting from afar and up close too.  This is a great achievement for any piece of artwork, but personally I was amazed that he achieved this in watercolors.   In my opinion, often watercolors are very interesting when viewed up close, but lack in any profound interest from afar.  This is not bad; it adds intimacy to the media and delicacy to the subject.  In this case, we sat there for a while, and just looked, one finds themselves stepping up to the work and stepping back.  The following critique was more geared to both learning of Ron’s work and, for a lack of a better term, “nitpicking “at little details.  We thought that the cliffs appear to float over the foreground.  There is a hard line at the bottom of the cliffs which separate the middle ground to the foreground, so adding passages from cliff to sand, and drawing in more of the sand color to the cliff will help the eye move from the two spaces.  The warm and cool space in the foreground is almost split in half, so perhaps changing that relationship would be helpful.  All in all, we are honored that he brought the work and are glad for the discussion that came from such a wonderful piece.

I showed my ‘finished’ studio Shipley Center painting (see Art Critique March 2012) where I had further developed the landscape structural line work and heighted the key along the foreground bushes.  Everyone is very encouraging and have only a few minor suggestions which I will implement.  They suggested warming up the ground much like the background; this would tie in the foreground to the middle ground more affectively.  There are suggestions in creating more variety in the background trees to avoid any flattening out of space; this can be achieved by modulating values (gradations) and warm versus cool colors.  Some people wanted more sky and others less, so I believe I’m good there.  These are all good suggestions that will help finish the painting.

Again, this was a great evening where a lot of interesting subjects and discussions took place.  We even had a talk about signatures on work and what that means.  In any case, I hope you enjoy reading these blogs, and we all look forward to meeting you all next art critique.  (Every 3rd Thursday evening we meet at 6:30pm to 9:30pm)


1 thought on “Art Critique April 2012

  1. In these pieces I pushed myself to first use freely applied paint, mostly by dripping and pouring, except for the circular elements. The gestural and expressive application relates to the weather and global warming as chaos as well. However, the graphic “G” so dominated the composition that it too needed a little chaos leaking into it. At the same time, the polar coordinates and the geometric symbols helped to add a balance of order and structure. Where the balance occurs is probably subjective, and I am happy with the good suggestions along these lines.

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