How to Critique a Painting: A Hands-On Demonstration.


I've had this apple blossom painting on the go since February. It's inspired by a photo that I took that really needs no enhancement, and so it was a tall order to try to translate it into a painting. I am really happy with the blossoms in the foreground. I think they are what prevented me from scrapping the entire painting and starting over. I have struggled since with everything in the background. Adding lots of darks for contrast helped, but I'm still certain that as it is, this painting won't be framed.

Could I save it by cropping it? Let's take a look (I am always amazed at how, when I photograph something and put it onscreen, suddenly all kinds of errors and omissions become visible.):

This is a minor crop - I've just cropped out a little excess from the sides.

A little more dramatic crop: this one is nearly square, and makes the three blossoms an even more obvious focal point, without the distraction of the branches on the right.

No matter how I crop it, I can't remove the areas that are the biggest problem to me; the background blossoms that got just a bit too "muddy". I'm not happy with that, and so this painting, while containing some portions that I think are really beautiful, will likely be placed in my portfolio as yet another learning exercise. Not a bad thing.

It is much easier to paint and keep painting when I remember that no time spent painting is wasted. I am learning and growing every time, even if I don't see or feel it right away.

I've posted a new work in progress on my Facebook page. Why not go check it out?