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Update - A Trio of Pears still life

Worked on this today with the suggestions received on my initial post.  I redid the background, not the exact color as the photo, but like the outcome.  Also worked on the ellipse on the right side of the bowl (still seems off to me) and added more contrast and highlights to the pears.  Still need to sign it but willing to make any more changes first.  Thank you everyone.  I am so much happier with this now.

Reference Photo

 The Painting (best photo I could manage)

Original Post Painting Before Changes



  • This is so much better now. The background is lovely and the pears are much much better.  
    I’m just thinking the ellipse on the right needs a slight adjustment.Your original ellipse was better I think. 
    This one is dipping down ? 
    God , how I hate ellipses !!! 😡
    I can never get them to look right. 
    Maybe someone like @Richard_P or @tassieguy could draw over the image for you and then you’ll see what needs doing. I’d love to help but it’d be a case of the blind leading the blind.  
    But if you fix this , I think you’ll have a much better painting.  
  • Thank you @Hilary

    I decided on a background color kind of in between what I originally did and the reference photo that I took. 

    I think I can create a document in word, insert my painting, then draw an ellipse over the bowl and probably see better.  The whole thing may be off.  I know Mark uses a "T" when drawing anything symmetrical.  I did that but think the paint got bumped around while painting it.  Probably got too close to my lines and didn't leave the extra space you're supposed to leave around the lines. 

    Thanks for suggesting the drawing over the photo, it got me thinking on how to do that myself, which will help for future paintings.  I traced the left side of the bowl, cut it out and flipped it, then traced over it with a white charcoal pencil onto the painting, but it's still not quite right. 

    Thanks for your suggestions and all who critiqued.  It really made a big difference in the outcome.
  • Just looking at the bowl , it seems to be dipping down to the right.  Is that the problem ? 
  • edited June 23
    @Hilary I created a Word document, dropped in my painting, then drew an ellipse around the top of the bowl.  Then exported it as a PDF.  Imported it into my photo editing program and saved it as a JPEG.  This is what I got.  Seems it's not as far off as I thought and shouldn't be too difficult to correct.  Doese look a little low on the right, you're correct.

  • Maybe the ellipse isn’t the problem. 
    Maybe the bowl looks like it’s sinking down into the material on the right. 
    Do you see what I mean ? 

  • @Hilary I see what you are talking about.  It's not sinking into the fabric but looks like it could create that illusion.  It is just bunched up around the bottom unevenly.  Not too bad on the ellipse.  Easy fix I think.
  • edited June 25
    @A_Time_To-Paint,  I think the picture above in which you have upped the blue looks much better.  :)

    Glad you have the elipse sorted. I find it amazing how little an elipse has to be out of whack for it to look wrong. I find them so hard and frustrating to paint. 
  • I like the blue background much better.  Ellipses are difficult to get perfect.  After adjusting that you might consider removing the bunched up cloth underneath that part of the bowl.  Also the shadow on the side of the bowl between the rim and the cloth appears to be flat.  Look for more gradation in value.  The ambient light is probably bouncing off that part of the bowl at different angles.  Photographs have a tendency to leave out a lot of visual cues for form.
  • Much, much better.  So glad you took the background bluer.  I hate ellipsis too.
  • @Hilary, @tassieguy, @GTO thank you all very much for your great advice.  You helped me take this painting to the next level.  I am very, very grateful.  @oilpainter1950, thank you for looking and the compliment.  I think what happened with the ellipse was it got bumped around while painting.  Lesson learned.  Leave a little more space between the drawn line and your paint.  
  • I really enjoy how the blue and orange interact in this updated version, the contrasts are great.
  • Thank you @Forgiveness.  It really does look better with the more pronounced blue.  You guys are so right!
  • Well done. You got there in the end.😊

  • Much improved, great job

  • good way to correct ellipse. the blue makes a lot of difference and is a much more pleasing to the eye. if a wonky ellipse presents itself again you could always tell people that it was hand-thrown ceramic and came out of the kiln that way.  
  • You did a great job really, if you want to make it easier on yourself don't put too much folds, try for example in your next projects to make the folds at background only and few under the object to connect it with background.
  • @BOB73 Thank you!  It so helps to get good feedback  :)
  • @MichaelD Thank you very much.  @hasan_bat I totally agree.  Less distracting and probably way easier to paint.  
  • I am not sure about your choise of drapery: the colour is very strong, so you have made it very hard on yourself. You might consider throwing away the drapery alltogether. For the pears I'd recommend overdoing them with a broader brush. The colour of the pears is ok! Maybe you could exaggerate the shadows and lights on the pears. In French it is called the working of "claire-bobscure". Note that myself am struggeling with it all my life so do not take offend. 

  • @FrankMariakirk thank you for your observations.  When in the planning stages of doing this painting, I asked all kinds of advice from fellow artists for the background color.  Many said to use a bluish gray, many others still said to keep the blue color to compliment the brown color of the pears.  Yours is the first suggestion to not bother with drapery at all.  Lots of "food for thought"  :)  I thank you for looking at the painting and for your suggestions.  I think I will leave it for now and chalk this one up to a learning experience and move on to the next painting.  
  • Thanks. I would, if I were you, do this painting (or very similar) again, with a background very loose, about the same colour tones as the pears.
  • @FrankMariakirk thank you for looking and for your suggestion.  Wouldn't the same background color as the pears make the pears disappear rather than being the focal point?  
  • I think the way you've evolved this work - the process - is interesting and the result speaks/is speaking for itself. Love the subtle value/colour of the inside of the bowl...
  • Thank you so much @Coach_T01 very much for your encouraging comment  =)
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