Hi, this 11" x 14". I think it looks pretty good from across the room, but close-up, think I need to add some finer details? I still to work on the rocks going into the river, and add a shoreline across the river. What else am I missing? Thanks!


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Most people look at paintings from a comfortable viewing distance, typically anywhere from 24" for small pieces to 4-5 feet or more for larger works.  If you have to strain your eyes to see detail at those distances, there is too much detail.  Try to only put "detail" in the center of interest or the foreground if needed to establish depth.  Usually we can get by with a lot less detail than we think we need.  Leave some mystery for the viewer to unravel!  Let us read into the painting rather than spelling it all out for us; that's what draws viewers into the painting.

You are doing a nice job on this scene!  I can see working the far shoreline and maybe the rocks, but just make sure you keep your nose at a good viewing distance and don't get carried away with details.

Thanks Charles, appreciate the feedback. I will work with the 2 foot distance and see what I can do.

you are doing a terrific job on your painting :) it looks great to me. charles has a good eye, i would trust his critique! 

Trust is a rather strong judgment of my input, and not really deserved.  I am an amateur, like most of the other members, with limited experience and a biased opinion that has gotten me in hot water more than a few times.  I may look at paintings a bit differently than others, but that gives me no special status.  It is very flattering when others appreciate one's input, but that input should always be kept in perspective.  These are your paintings, expressing your vision; any outside input is secondary to your own feelings and purpose.

This is lovely Marion! You did a great job capturing the colors and forms. Well done! As Charles mentioned, don't worry about fine details! Especially a scene like this where you are looking across the water at a distance. If you were standing right there you wouldn't see much detail!

There is one concept that takes a while to really get, but will make such a difference in your paintings. More important than color is getting the right VALUE. That just means how light or dark the area in the painting is.

Getting the value right will give you that sense of depth. Things in the distance are lighter than things closer up. So your dark areas of your mountains further away will be lighter than your dark areas up close. Whenever you use the same dark color far away as you do close up, the sense of depth is broken.

So below is a black and white version of your painting and your reference photo.

Notice how your dark values in your distant mountains are standing out in comparison to the reference? that keeps the mountains from staying back in the distance. Does that make sense?

Also - don't forget those reflections in the water!

Great job Marion! Looking forward to seeing more!

Thank you! It really helps looking at the greyscale, I will be doing this frm now on. I didn't even realize I was making the mountains as dark as my foreground, but now that you point it out, and I look at the greyscale photo, it makes so much sense. I forgot about the reflections too.
Thanks very much. Funny how obvious things can be after they are pointed out, lol.

We'd love to see it! Did you try to post the picture?

Yes, lol. Just re-posted with comment and pic.

Ok, calling this done. I think my main challenge is valuesdistance. Looking at this now, think I still should have faded (lightened) my background more, but I want to move on. My other big challenge is making browns! Lol. Thanks for your help with this painting. Comments/critiques etc welcome on my finished painting, will keep for future reference.}


It's beautiful Marion! You should be very proud of this one :) Really nice job! I love the way the water turned out!

Browns are basically neutralized oranges. So you can start with some red and yellow to make the orange, then add a tiny bit of the complimentary color blue. From there if you are looking for a warmer brown you can add more red, yellow and/or orange. If you are looking for something cooler you can add more blue. etc. Often with rocks the key is getting a lot of different variations of color in there.

And I think your browns are lovely! Thanks for sharing the update. Looking forward to the next one.

Thanks Karen. I will continue in my practice to learn how to blend the browns I want, knw the "rules", but getting it right is a challenge. I am learning so much from you and the others. Thanks for all your help. This is sch a great site.

:) Keep up the good work!


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