Need help again. The shadows suck. I think i should paint the floor white so i can do it over. What do you think?

12x12 acrylic on canvas. Reference pmp photo. Will find the addy. I made it my own though lol


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I would just do the shadow again the rest looks great. Shadows are not my friend either. Haha

Thank you! I have been learning to paint for almost 2 years. Major work in progress lol it took me forever to paint the door! Who knew a shadow could be so hard!

Hmmmm.  Ordinarily, when the lighting is warm, the shadows are cool.  Here is what I would consider to be one of the exceptions.  How do blue and orange relate on the colour wheel?  Opposites are complementaries, and each one enhances the intensity of the other when they are adjacent.  Consequently the blue shadow does not recede, but jumps out at us.  I would be tempted to try a darker value neutral brown shade to capture the shadow without drawing attention away from the main subject.  As they say, every rule has it's exceptions!

Another factor to consider is the overall floor. A somewhat darker value could dramatically enhance the rather translucent effect of the cactus pads.

thank you! :) much appreciated! I had no idea what to do at this point. the floor was very distracting for me. I will work on it again!

I must be learning because I understood what Charles said.  That is the great thing with acrylics ..........if you're not happy with it you can just paint over it.

Okay Charles, is this more like you had in mind? I will tweak it a little more. If i am headed in the right direction :) i like it better already.

I cannot believe how much it changes the painting. I'm no expert as you know but the shadow is definitely better, and the graining on the wood is so so good.

maybe Karen will post them here side by side, for comparison. I don't know how to.  Charles is such a great helper! now the rest of the painting shows up so much better, to me. I am way happier. I was just so disappointed with it before.  thanks for noticing the wood. that is my favorite part of this painting lol it was fun to work on!

Thanks, but as Karen has said before - if it doesn't look right, try to figure out why.  When you appreciate the problem it is easier to come up with an answer.  If the pottery had been less intense, the blue shadow may not have been an issue, but did you want to downplay the orange?  Sometimes colour theory can work againt our colour perception; that's where artist's license comes into play.  Sounds good, anyway!

There are other options, but this seemed to be the simplest fix.  Glad you like the outcome - I think it made a positive difference as well.

I really love it now! What a difference a few changes can make. The problem with me is I don't know what to do to fix it! That's why I love this site. Everybody helps each other with honest answers even beginners can see things I coudn't see. 

this is an awesome place :)

This is lovely Wenda!

You've done a lovely job with the detail on the fence and the general forms of the cactus and jug. Great comments from Charles as well. That blue shadow was really standing out against the orange jug.

I do wish I had the reference to look at, but barring that what captures my eye is the sort of simplification of the colors. Green cactus, orange jug, grey fence, brown ground. In reality there is usually more variation of color and value, more neutral colors, more integration of the colors. Light reflecting off the cactus onto the jug and the ground. Off of the fence onto the ground and vice versa.

I bring these things up because I know you have been training your eye for a while, working hard on improving your painting Wenda. I think you are seeing these things - especially after all the daily studies you were doing, now you just have to trust your eye! Were those little dots of cactus spines really all the same color and value? Are they so obvious all over the cactus? Are there areas where the light hits that they blend into the cactus? I do see that you have darkened some of them in shadow, so you see it, you just aren't going with what you really see, you are letting your mind "tell" you what is there...

The second comment is about "detail". Remember more detail will always draw the eye. Contrast in value and color, small shapes, crisp edges. So you have to be very careful to put this "detail" in the areas that are most important and you want to draw the eye to - your focal point. when I look at this image my eye goes directly to the dark nails in the light fence. This is your highest contrast and smallest detail. So it is up to you as the artist. In this case you may well be painting just what you see - but is that an important part of your story? Isn't that fence third in importance to the cactus and the jug? Sometimes we think putting in these tiny details will add "realism" and make your painting look more photorealistic. But they don't! It's your correct values that do the most to improve your realism.

So my suggestion would be to take another look at that photo. Squint your eyes, compare one area to the next. That's how you see what is "wrong". Values, shapes, color, comparisons.

This painting is lovely as it is Wenda, and you could certainly stop here and have a great painting! You know I'm just going to keep pushing you! :) Thanks for sharing, and for all the sharing you do on the site. We wouldn't be the same without you!


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