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"Keyhole Point"

GaryGary -
edited November 2012 in Post Your Paintings
I finished this landscape a few days ago. Although I've shared it with of few of my painting friends who are also members of this new forum, I thought I'd post it as encouragement to others to start sharing their paintings. I have two big issues when I paint landscapes. The first is I tend to over saturate the colors in general which leads to my second issue - getting the proper amount of color recession to help create depth. Although I have a very long way to go, I'm improving thanks to the support and constructive comments by my painting friends.....an important aspect of this forum for me. I think we can encourage and help each other improve by posting our work. This can be a tough thing to do especially for folks who have just started to paint - I learned to paint using Mark's earlier videos and have been painting for 21 months. This particular painting is of a section of the beautiful rocky coastline in central California, a few miles south of Carmel. The little piece of orange paint just above the center of the painting at the base of the middle ridge (point) of rocks and just above the water line is the 'keyhole'. Its a section of rock which has been eroded through to a small inlet on the other side which allows light into the keyhole later in the afternoon. In order to improve, what could I have done better?

image

Comments

  • OK, this is totally just my opinion and I am FAR from an art critic. I think you have too much saturation in the color in the left lower corner that could be grayed down to a much lower saturation in color so that is not the focal area. I think it kind of detracts from the center of interest. Love how much color you have in the upper third of the painting. Mark told me once to really keep everything grayer than you think it should be and then add some color just so that part really shows in a painting.
  • It's so hard to judge someone else's work via the net due to different monitors but we can get an 'idea' so take it for what it's worth. You the artist, will have to evaluate all comments and determine if they are applicable. That's the best we can do over the net.

    I can only speak from personal experience. Anyone who knows me is aware that every so many months I go through the "I want to do something else but realism phase" and disappear only to return to Mark's method LOL.

    This is how I judge a painting in my little brain - it does not make it right. It's just how I perceive it....

    Any painting whether it's painted in a style of representational, impressionistic or realism - it's always about the scene. The colors, the values, the brushwork in my judgement all have to work together without one over taking the other. When I look at a painting if all I see is heavy impasto for example, if my brain has to work hard to bypass all the textures to figure out what I'm looking at - then in my opinion, the painting has failed. Same goes for exaggerated color or extreme lights and darks or lack of. Just like composition, it's a delicate balance.

    This is my problem....
    When I venture from Mark's method and I do not have a clear vision as to where I am going sort of - grab brushes and paint to 'do my own thing' - I start overcompensating either with the color or the darks/ lights in the painting.

    That takes lots of experience and years and miles and miles of canvas. For only a few, it comes naturally. But for most of us, it does not. It's a humbling experience to realize I can't do it all and that I'm NOT above instruction or someone else's knowledge and expertise.

    So I take stock and take a hard look at my strengths and honestly examine my weaknesses. That's what I do.

    I have commented on just about everyone of your paintings. I have noticed that you do tend to go high chroma. Maybe what you perceive as a fault might be a strength?

    Look at the dead artist files on the net. Who were the high chroma painters and study how they pulled it off. Gauguin for example, there was a theory behind what he did and the colors and values he choose. He had a clear vision and learned how to incorporate that into his works. Learn from him. The art world views him as a master for a reason.

    Maybe do a study of one of his paintings. If you find you hate it afterward, then go back to square one with Mark's approach. I'm going too. And now that I've written a small novel and bored everyone to tears, I'm outta here!












    Amrit
  • Hi Gary. Do you use photoshop? I can't remember. If you can bring this picture up in photoshop you can mess with the colors in the lower left just to see how it would look toned down. I love the upper half with the orange values in there and I love that water in the lower half. Just love it! I agree that the section in the lower left may be too high chroma.
  • GaryGary -
    edited October 2012
    Thanks Liz, TJ and Ronna! :) Great comments and very helpful as always. I do struggle with over saturation of colors. I know what I want but have only hit the mark (no pun intended!) a few times. I error most of the time on over saturation. I'll give you two examples of end points for me. My favorite landscape artist is Scott Christensen. His work is very toned down but has a very natural feel to me. Another wonderful artist is Margaret Kessler who's landscapes are much brighter and more colorful. In part I think this is due to how they approach their paintings. Scott uses a very limited palette compared to Margaret. Margaret uses complements to make her greys while Scott makes a 'mother' color using his 3 primaries and then lightens the mother color with white to creat his greys that he mixes into each mixed local color to produce a very nice neutral. I want to paint more like Scott as it appears more like natural colors. I'm stuck in between at the moment in terms of palette size (I use a warm and cool version of red, yellow and blue plus titanium white), so I have 7 colors on my palette. I make a mother 'black' out of these primaries as my neutral to create all my grey values. I don't think the main problem is the palette, the problem is me as I mix a color. When I paint a still life and use the color checker, I didn't have this issue as much because as I drifted toward more saturated color, the checker caught me and I was able to correct it.

    Part of the problem you have mentioned may also be monitors and not knowing what someone else is seeing. I have three monitors. One I can, and do, calibrate and the pictures are very close to the painting. My other monitor and my laptop screen cannot be calibrated. The uncalibrated monitor really displays the colors differently and looks very different from the painting. In the case of this particular painting, the lower left reds and oranges are very bright and look to have little to no grey at all. On my laptop monitor, the lower left looks to have a lot of greenish yellow - go figure! All three monitors however do about the same job at displaying the upper half of the picture...this I don't understand.

    Again, thanks for your constructive feedback, it's much appreciated. :)
  • Gary said:

    Thanks Liz, TJ and Ronna! :) Great comments and very helpful as always. I do struggle with over saturation of colors. I know what I want but have only hit the mark (no pun intended!) a few times. I error most of the time on over saturation. I'll give you two examples of end points for me. My favorite landscape artist is Scott Christensen. His work is very toned down but has a very natural feel to me. Another wonderful artist is Margaret Kessler who's landscapes are much brighter and more colorful. In part I think this is due to how they approach their paintings. Scott uses a very limited palette compared to Margaret. Margaret uses complements to make her greys while Scott makes a 'mother' color using his 3 primaries and then lightens the mother color with white to creat his greys that he mixes into each mixed local color to produce a very nice neutral. I want to paint more like Scott as it appears more like natural colors. I'm stuck in between at the moment in terms of palette size (I use a warm and cool version of red, yellow and blue plus titanium white), so I have 7 colors on my palette. I make a mother 'black' out of these primaries as my neutral to create all my grey values. I don't think the main problem is the palette, the problem is me as I mix a color. When I paint a still life and use the color checker, I didn't have this issue as much because as I drifted toward more saturated color, the checker caught me and I was able to correct it.

    Part of the problem you have mentioned may also be monitors and not knowing what someone else is seeing. I have three monitors. One I can, and do, calibrate and the pictures are very close to the painting. My other monitor and my laptop screen cannot be calibrated. The uncalibrated monitor really displays the colors differently and looks very different from the painting. In the case of this particular painting, the lower left reds and oranges are very bright and look to have little to no grey at all. On my laptop monitor, the lower left looks to have a lot of greenish yellow - go figure! All three monitors however do about the same job at displaying the upper half of the picture...this I don't understand.

    Again, thanks for your constructive feedback, it's much appreciated. :)

  • tjs said:

    Gary said:

    When I paint a still life and use the color checker, I didn't have this issue ...


    Then I'd say use your color checker or test your colors on a photo. I still do.
  • Hey TJ - Nancy was looking over my shoulder when I was looking at your comment. Her comment was along the line: "Why can women see the obvious and use common sense to find the solution!" She thought she had me... again! Not! I had a really good answer: "Our cheap little printer can't produce quality color photos....that's why I have a monitor to look at my digital pics while I paint." Smiling as I looked at her with my clever little answer, she didn't seemed impressed. As she turned to leave the room, all I heard was "go to Office Depot, get a decent photo or a new printer and do what TJ suggested." Between the two of you I never stood a chance! Next time maybe I should just enjoy my self pity in digital silence! :)
    LizONealtjs
  • Hey Gary!
    Talk about high chroma! That's exactly my problem as well.
    You've got great advice from everyone and it was interesting to read and helpful for me as well.
    So I will just tell you what I think about your painting.
    I absolutly love the upper part and the water, I especially love that tree shape on the upper corner and the different greens + that dark color.
    The water color and your brushwork is beautiful.
    Despite of the strong orange it's a fantastic landscape!


  • I think it looks cool.
  • Thank you Myriam and David! :) Two steps forward, one step back...eventually I'll get there.
  • Hi Gary,

    I love what is there, but my mind, my eye, keeps drifting to the right and wondering what lies beyond the right edge of the picture.
  • Charley, a little mystery adds spice and interest! :) All kidding aside, this was a tough composition for holding the eye in the painting. The center ridge line cuts the painting basically in half and can lead the eye out of the painting which I know you shouldn't general do. My problem is that if I 'zoom out' to get the end of the middle ridge, you can't see the 'keyhole' which is what I was wanting to capture and l also lose most of the foreground cove with the beautiful water and kelp beds. My hope was that this little front cove would help hold the viewer or pull them back from the right edge because of the brighter colors, increased detail, higher contrast, etc. I tried to use duller colors, less detail and specific directional paint stokes on the right side of the center ridge to stop the eye and direct it back to the left/center of the painting. Fun to face these little painting challenges, sometimes they work and other times they don't...but the 'trying' is always a fun experience!
  • Another thing about paintings is that first impressions often disappear. After you have time to get used to a painting, once it becomes familiar to you, your feelings about it change. And it goes both ways--some paintings that you think are fantastic at first sometimes lose some of their appeal, and others that you frown at initially sometimes grow on you. On that last point, Picasso comes to mind--at first, his work was a turn off, but each time I go through one of my Picasso books, I like his paintings more and more. His sculptures are another story--still hard to swallow.
  • Gary said:

    Hey TJ - Nancy was looking over my shoulder when I was looking at your comment. Her comment was along the line: "Why can women see the obvious and use common sense to find the solution!"

    One of these days you will have finally figured out that Nancy and I have conspired against you LOL.

    When I look at your website and see the work as a whole
    garyhillpaintings.blogspot.com/

    It's all truly beautiful. REad the comments here. What you do naturally is quite beautiful. I think you are trying to cover it up with some Scott's color theory.

    I look at the master's of color. To me it's like music. When Mozart composed his music, the notes were meant to be hit at a precise moment for the music to be the way he intended. That's why not everyone can play Mozart. You just can't play the notes.

    Gauguin's work - especially that one painting I sent you? You are hitting his notes so to speak without knowing it. His color - the exact chroma and value over and over again. He worked those exact tones for a reason. I know so many painters that struggle to get those colors and can't. Your hitting his colors time and again, not all in the same painting, but you are hitting them. I honestly wish you would explore his work.

    Myc noticed the orange. I think cause of the intensity, Gauguin didn't use complimentary color schemes -more analogous. CharlieBoy's observation about Picasso is great.

    Us Yanks aren't exposed to art the way the Europeans are. I sure wish you'd explore Gauguin. And with that I'll shut up about it:-)

  • Thanks for the support TJ! Gauguin it is then.....off to the web to see what I can find. :)
  • When I viewed the painting at first only the top 1/3 of the lower left rock formation showed up on my computer screen and to me the painting looked perfect! I do agree that when the entire lower left rock is present it does detract from the rest of the painting. Maybe by cropping some of it out (restretching the canvas to a smaller size will do the trick). Love the colors, and when cropped, my eyes travel through the painting nicely. Donna
  • Thanks Donna! Since I'm in the learning phase, I paint, learn and try to incorporate suggestions in my future efforts. I don't really get attached to a single painting but I do get attached to the process of painting. Since I don't sell or exhibit my work, I do put the wonderful, helpful comments from good folks like yourself on note cards and store them with each painting (which I warp in wax paper and stack them in a closet). I go back ever so often, look at each painting and the attached notes to mark my progress and review the comments. It a really good exercise for me...reminds me how much I've improved and how very far I have to go! :)
  • Gary said:

    It a really good exercise for me...reminds me how much I've improved and how very far I have to go! :)

    Or - how far you have traveled;-)
  • Thanks TJ! Always positive and supportive...its appreciated! :)
  • Wow Gary, you are on a run. Excellent advise on this page. I'm just going to say well done for painting and trying new things.
  • Thank you Amrit! Hope your 'football' team doing well in the new season!
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