Sunday, February 3, 2013


images below are copyright protected and are not for use other than in this post as a learning tool. These are only suggestions for variations on this piece.
 Question from Jan Stickland:
"Hey CJ! Want to know your opinion on how to make this painbetter! THANKYOU!" 
 CRITIQUE: To check a painting I recommend taking a photo of the artwork in grayscale or transforming it to grayscale in a photo program.

Now you can check the basic structure of the piece without the distraction of color.

Grayscale Check Points:

  1. Note if your focal point created by value (light and dark) is where you expect/desire it to be. 
  2. Is the direction of the lighting consistent?
  3. Do you have a variety of shapes, sizes and spacing for interest?
  4. is the background conflicting with elements of your composition
  5. Have items seemingly disappeared due to a lack of contrast?
  6. Edit the contrast in Photoshop until the desired effect is reached.

JAN'S ORIGINAL COLOR PAINTING converted to grayscale:

I recommend trying out different things in your photo editing software before editing your actual painting.
Start by editing a grayscale version of your piece. Then bring it back to color and adjust as needed.
After you have a clear idea of what you want to do - go ahead and edit the actual painting or create a new painting.

Edited grayscale image by CJ
Get in those lights and darks where you want them for drama in the picture!
A few additions:
  1. enhanced light source from the right side
  2. To add interest, create an erratic shaped bouquet instead of rounded
  3. add some dangly bits hanging off the side of vase to catch the eye and lead inward
      and to break the boundaries of the vase and outer edges of the main bouquet.
  4. you could even add some flowers that may have dropped to the table top.
  5. Add few larger flowers to balance the small ones or add a cluster of
      flowers for a larger spot of concentration.
  6. Soften the red in the background so it is not a main/major player in the composition.

create an entry point (the dangling flowers and the light spot on the vase)..
  1. create a path for the eye to follow through the composition (do this with color and value)

Thank you for allowing me to critique your wonderful floral painting - It is vibrant and beautiful just the way it is! CJ
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