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Art Critique January 2014

This month critique focused on volume, mood and the painted picture dialog.  It was a great way to start the New Year out and a way to keep the creative juices flowing for the entire year.

We began with three pastels on Bonsai trees that I completed over the holidays.  Pastels is a great medium for creating saturated images, so two of these are drawing of azaleas I saw in Japan last year.  Though the beauty of the medium and colors of these azaleas was successful, there needed to be additional work to shore up the base of the trees and how the trunk roots into the ground (in the Bonsai world we call that “Nebari”).  There also required more definition of volume around the edges of the foliage, I did this by lighting the edge a bit.  Overall the group thought the drawing were well balanced and showed a nice variety of textures.

Thom brought a painting in that focused on the “Searching for Global Warming #2”.  It is a 25” X 36” acrylic painting which is composed of 4 figures either searching with flash lights or balancing on a beam.  Above is an “ideal” earth versus the below earth as it is (in the mist of today’s climate changes) today.  The first critique item came from the neutralist color palette of browns (tertiary colors), pushing the colors toward primary saturation could bring drama to the composition.  The other area of contention, which is unusual for Thom, is the composition; it appear the painting would be better served if the space was further fragmented and broken up; in particular the left hand side of the painting.  The figures also seem static and creating some accent marks or duplicate forms around the figure would activate their movement.  It is a playful piece and brought a smile to all of us, which seems at odds with such a heavy subject matter.

Ron finished the evening with a coup de grace watercolor.  It is a beautiful painting of the sunset with bold monumental rocks in the foreground and a threatening cloud front in the background.  The two are separated by the ocean, which appears to me as a perfect metaphor for a communication space between two giants in argument and/or readying for battle.  Ironically, Ron calls it “Moonrise” which pushes beyond what we are seeing and gets one think of the future state of this inauspicious environment.  The execution of the painting is very dramatic which harkens back to great romantic painting by artist such as Goya, Delacroix and Gericault.  The painting is a real gem.

I hope that you will be able to join us in February.  All is welcome, just send me you information and I will contact you about the time and place.


3 thoughts on “Art Critique January 2014

  1. Ron H’s sky is dynamite! Reminds me of Albert Ryder who loved to paint moon/clouds/sky.
    Have you – the 2 Ron’s and Thom – thought about entering the Chemers Gallery exhibit about local landscapes. The info is at
    Deadline is this Sunday $35/2 works.

  2. I’m sorry to have missed the crit that month. When I first saw Ron’s watercolor I thought that the photo file was all wrong because I’ve never seen him use such dramatic colors before! Then I read the piece and realized it was supposed to be that way. Would have liked to see the piece in person.

  3. A good critique all around. On my piece, I have deepened the dark brown spaces with translucent layers of brown, red and black. I am pursuing browns to push the luminosity of the yellows, oranges and reds, and I like the stained brown wood frame adding to it. Figures enhanced in color also.

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