There is always room for improvement and an opportunity to learn


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I think he you have made a good start Wenda. Three things catch my eye, and I would suggest having a re think on :

The concrete foundation or walls don't add anything and I think are a distraction, I would replace with more of your wonderful  weathered rocks

The light house to me appears way to small, I would try sketching a larger one that is more in proportion with your rocks. Position is great 

Finally the  main wave on the water looks very good but the smaller waves I would think should be traveling parallel to it or almost.

I am far from an expert and hope this helps or give you some thoughts to move on.

I allways enjoy your paintings Wenda please keep them coming. 

Thanks Ian! I also thought the light house was too small. And did not like the wayer too much. The structure is supposed to be a wooden deck and stairway. And you are right! Dump it lol appreciate your input my friend!

Ian made some great points Wenda!

Did you do this one from imagination, or is there a reference photo?

So, oceans are so fascinating because they change their color drastically with the sky. To me your ocean is reflecting a vivid blue sky. But your sky is grey and overcast...

Horizons can change a lot, too, depending on the sky. Sometimes they disappear almost entirely, making a very subtle transition between sky and sea. Sometimes it is lighter toward the horizon, sometimes darker.

Your breaking waves have a lot of lines to them, hope that makes sense! If you study a breaking wave you will see more rounded shapes. Where it crests there is a sort of linear look, but then when it is foamy it is more rounded. Sorry if that doesn't make sense. If you don't have a reference, google some images and I think you will see what I mean.

Light - again, your sky is overcast, so maybe there is no clear sun showing. If you did choose a direction the light is coming from, you could use that to put a light and shadow side on your lighthouse which would give it more roundness.

Your rocks are basically one color - tan. I find it gives a more natural look if you add a lot of varied neutral colors. Some greys, some grey blues, grey greens, see what I mean? And making a change in the color to something cooler and more neutral as you move into the distance will give you move depth.

I agree with Ian about the stairs, I don't think they are helping. And I think it is the size of the stairs that makes the lighthouse look too small. They are further away and if you estimate the size of a person based on those, the person would stand about 3/4 the height of the lighthouse :) That's a tall person :)

Without the stairs, the lighthouse will look fine, and it is placed really nicely. Great composition Wenda!

I do love all the color in the sea. I think if you just made the sky more sunny and blue, touched up the breaking wave, added some variation of color to the rocks, some light and shadow on the lighthouse, voila!

Thanks for posting! I do love doing what I can to help you guys :)

If anyone is reading this and hesitating to post, please don't hesitate :)

 this is the reference photo Karen.  i used a pthalo blue under painting for the water. i had no idea how stong it is haha, live n learn! i should have just whited out the whole thin and started over! 

i knew the things i was unhappy with. i am not good at seeing my own mistakes, so i thought i would save me some time and ask you all for help. it is amazing what i learn from you all :)

Thanks for the photo link!

Notice how dark in value the day is. It creates a very strong mood -  Overcast and brooding. You have lightened up the day as if there were sun, but the sky is still showing all overcast. Either way is fine, it's just important to be consistent. It is your story, so you decide on the mood! :)

Do you see how the blueish color on the water is a direct reflection of the color of the sky? So whatever you decide to do with the sky, you will want to match in the water. Does that make sense?

I see now what went on with the stairs - they are actually closer to us, so that explains the size issue. With them in the foreground it adds an element that leads into the lighthouse, which is nice. But it's fine without it too!

Notice the subtle shift in color of the rocks? From slightly warmer in the foreground to much bluer/greyer in the background. Again, that grey overcast day is going to affect all the colors in the painting. As will the shift in distance. The color will always change somewhat as you move away - and it is a great tool for showing the depth.

It's tough to drastically change the lighting in a painting. Everything is affected by the light. It is a great learning experience!

Thanks a million for checking it out! Lol this was just a disaster! It will be awhile but i will fix it! Thank you so much Karen. I know how busy you are!

No, not a disaster! It's pretty just as it is!

Hi Wenda.  

This is a wonderful composition  I love lighthouses.  

 I like how you blended the sky and water.  You also did a nice job on the breaking wave.  The value change just below the break gives it a nice three-dimensional look.  The focal point is obviously the lighthouse.  Looks like you used the Rule Of Thirds and put it just where you need to.  Nice job on the detailing.  I struggled with the lamp area in the only lighthouse I ever did.  

The thing that jumps out at me is that the distant values are the same as (or close to) the foreground values in both the sea, sky, and rocks.  I think that darkening the sea in the distance and the sky at the horizon will give your work depth.  The blue of the sky seems to clash with the teal water.  I think I would make the distant horizon the same blue that you used in the sky. 

Also, once you define your light source, I would shade the area of the lighthouse that is in shadow.  

That's just me.  I will be interested in what others have to say.

I always like looking at your work.  You obviously put your heart and soul into it (as we should).  

Oh, can we see your reference photo.  I agree with Ian that the lighthouse appears a little too small.

thank you so much for helping me Mike! much appreciated. i didnt want to work on the painting any more till i asked my friends here for guidance. i am going to get rid of the stairs. try to graduate the rocks into distance. not sure if i should change the water or the sky. i liked the color of the water, but it didnt go with the sky. i will work onthe rocks while i think about it i guess :)


Okay, i worked on my painting again. What do you think?

I like the changes Wenda! Well done!

The sky relates to the water reflections now, nice! I love the foam squiggles on the wave, and the shape of the breaking wave is much better!

I also see that you have added a more obvious light source on the lighthouse. So I would say the light is now coming from the right? Would we see more of the effects of that on the rocks? So the surfaces facing right would be lighter? I know it's hard to visualize the effects of your light source when you are changing what is in the reference. But it does help with "seeing the light" in your painting :)

I like the little path as a line leading to your focal point. I'm wondering if it would show some perspective by being wider closer to us? It's a tough one because we are looking down on the scene.

I love what you have done with deleting the stairway and neutralizing those far rocks, they really show some distance now!

Thanks for sharing your progress!

Thanks Karen! I'm still looking at this painting. Not sure if i will make more changes or not. I like it way better now ☺


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