I would greatly appreciate your serious and honest opinion concerning how I have represented sea foam in one of my paintings. It is a work in progress but is nearly finished. One criticism directed at it is that there is not enough detailed bubbles in the foam and consequently it looks like a string of toothpaste. Your advice and thoughts would be helpful and enable me to much improve my work. I didn't want a great deal of detail in the foam because the sandpipers are the real subject, but at the same time it must be believable and in keeping with the style of the rest of the painting. Any and all opinions and advice are welcome and indeed needed so that I can improve as an artist. Thanks to all. Richard.
As David said.. and although you only asked about the sea foam, I think the sea weed is too distracting. And again it may be because of the size but visually it is hard to "see" the birds. The eye is first presented with those 4 brown shapes which are the same coloring of the birds.
I like it. The foam may need a little more bubbles, the sea weed in the foreground I would lose and just have the reflection of the bird. The seaweed just a little darker gray/green to distinguish its color from the birds. But hey! What do I know?
Hi Richard -
I am a painter so I will say, the image is too small to get a good look at the sea foam, but it does look wonderful to me based on what I can see. That said - I am going to agree with Bob since he mentioned the "grass"... to my eye - the very top grass is distracting... it looks to me like it's sitting on top of the bird's wing or thereabouts. My eye is drawn to it where I think the bird should be the main focal point of that particular area of the painting. Your painting is lovely, but I wish you would take a look at that top grass. ;)
Thanks for all your observations and suggestions. I'm going to gather them all up, read through them again (I have other emails I sent out also), and decide where I go from here. I'll post back as soon as I can digest all this. Thanks again, I appreciate the remarks.
Hello, I live on the Atlantic coastline. Our sea foam is white, sparkly and lacy looking. I agree with the coloring of the seaweed. Ours is a real dark green and I think it would make a better contrast with the birds. I love the images and the whole atmosphere of the painting. When I really think of it, Mother Nature has so many creatures that blend in so well with their habitant that we can miss seeing them. Good Luck and I am positive you will find the best way for the very few improvements that will help the painting.
From what I can see - it looks pretty good - the sea foam maybe a little more bubbly - but the seaweed should be that golden color and I wouldn't change it except for perhaps the larger piece closest to the bird at 7 o'clock - leave the little piece. Seaweed is different in different places - and this golden color with even perhaps a touch more of 'rust' color along the sandy coasts of Florida. green would overwhelm the color scheme and, to me" wouldn't look right. and if it's sargassum - for sure don't change the color. Sargassum
I've spent much time going over comments and advice from everyone on this website and others, and from emails I sent out to other artists who have a great deal more experience and talent than I have. The comments have been thought provoking and helped me to take a further serious look at the Sandpipers painting. It's allowed me to further analyze its strengths and shortcomings. Thanks to all who have made suggestions. It's been hard to decide what to do because suggestions have ranged from "do nothing, it looks good just the way it is" to some criticisms of technique and composition. None have suggested major revisions or "do over". All that just goes to show how a creation can affect many people in many different ways. Everybody is right! We all can look at the same thing and have entirely different responses to it based on our experiences and background. Everyone looks for something different in a painting. It's the feeling one gets by looking at it. That's why we can't always understand why someone wins a juried competition. The judge's background and experience dictates what's important and if another judge were to examine the same paintings, results may be quite different. That's also why so many books have been written. Some people find detail and accuracy very important while others are more concerned with color or tonal balance or composition of elements, and detail is not high on their list. In the end, the artist is the one who has to decide if a painting is "right". The artist has to draw on all of his or her experiences, knowledge, and feel or intuition, technical skills, style and not the least, the helpful criticisms, advice and opinions of others who he or she respects, and how they relate to his or her own feelings. Do the suggestions fit in with the artists style? The artist can't make all the changes or the painting will no longer be his or her painting. The changes have to be in keeping with the artist's style and comfort. If the artist fundamentally disagrees with the change or it doesn't feel right, the change shouldn't be made. But that can only be done if the artist has enough background, knowledge and experience to understand what the change means. I'm not sure if I'm all that experienced yet but I have gone through the comments and made some decisions that will change the painting. I hope that the changes I'm going to make will make the painting better. We'll see after the changes are made. Whether they make the painting better or not, I will learn something from the experience. I will learn something that will help me make a better painting in the future. What works and what doesn't. It will help me to build my knowledge base, to analyze my paintings better,make it easier to analyze criticisms in the future, and help me to evaluate those criticisms in relation to my own (hopefully increased) knowledge base. So, after all this rambling on, here are the changes I've decided will improve the painting. You're welcome to weigh in with your opinions.
1. Strengthen the air bubbles in the foam a bit. Add a bit more to those in the foreground and not to those further back. I still believe that the foam should look real but not have so much detail that it attracts too much attention.
2. Dull the birds in the back a bit to create a bit more depth.
3. Dull the seaweed some. The bright colors of the seaweed were beginning to compete with the birds for attention.
4. Darken the sands in the upper left of the painting. This may help to balance the heavier elements in the lower right.
So, now it's time to get to work. I'll post next week an update to the painting.
This has been a difficult week. One of the changes I wanted to make was to darken the upper left hand corner a bit. The idea was to show some sand as the waves drew away from the beach. I did put that in but it was unhappy with it. It turned out too dark in my estimation, so I had to remove it. The darker area became more of a focus point for the eye. It competed with the Sandpipers. Removing it took some doing but I got it back to nearly the same tone as in Week 8. Just a bit darker. That seemed better. Another change I made was to subdue the seaweed a bit so it wasn’t as colorful. The brighter colors also competed with the birds, so dulling it down somewhat by adding more green helped. The birds now stand out more. I have done a little more on the foam but still have just a bit more to do. You can see the latest picture on my page.