Since receiving their copy, a number of the artists have been in touch with me. Jennifer Assinck asked me to critique a couple paintings that she completed. I wondered if others might enjoy learning from the critique. She has kindly given me permission to share her work with my readers along with any insight I may have. Thank you Jennifer!
On a bit of a side note, I've been a member of the Alberta Community Art Club Association, or ACACA, for years now. Every year in Alberta there is a large zone show where members can display their work for show and sale. At the end of the show jurors offer a critique of the paintings. I have to admit, I love the critique portion of the event. I have learned a lot listening to their advice and seeing the paintings from a professional perspective. With the right attitude, a critique can be a very informative. I only hope I can be half as insightful today.
Below are two photos Jennifer sent me. On the left is her pastel painting, and on the right is the photo reference.
I wonder if the subject could be bumped up or down into a third of the space by cropping the top or the bottom a bit. Below I've cropped each painting, on the bottom (left) and top (right). The pic on the left appears a little more grounded. The empty space at the top is about 1/3 of the painting, the items in the middle are at 1/3 and the bottom portion is a bit less.
The painting on the right is cropped at the top giving the fabric more significance. Either choice works, it's just a matter of preference.
Refering back to the photo and original painting, there are only a couple suggestions I would make. I know computer screens can distort colour. In my eBook Pastel Painting Made Easy (sold in my Etsy shop HERE) I refer to something I call Colour Matching. Picking colour can be tricky-our brains like to trick us. When you're not sure of a colour, hold a pastel or two up to either your still-life set up, or the photo. You'll be surprised at how your first selection of colour may have been inaccurate.
The jug on the right (in the photo) is more grey than blue. Now, that doesn't mean that Jennifer didn't use her creative liscence to change the colour. Maybe she did - but assuming she is working from the photo and requested the critique with both, she may have been hoping to get a closer match to the colour in the photo. Just watch your colour choices, and match it up before applying. Apply colour in thin layers so that you capture all the neuances of light.
Lastly, I save white for very special occassions ... like highlights - and even then, it is seldom pure white. I wonder if the fabric and bowl could be warmer. More yellow, with a green-grey in the shadows of the white bowl. Then, when you apply those lights in the areas of reflection they will really pop!
Thank you so much, Jennifer, for allowing me to share your work! I will post the second critique shortly.
It's so exciting to see others with an interst in still life.