I painted this still life of tulips over the weekend. It was an exercise to practise some new painting techniques I had learnt recently from an instructional DVD by Richard Schmid. My intention was not to copy his technique, but learn from some of his ideas. For example, one idea that struck me was the question: "Is this brush mark I'm about to make going to weaken or strenghten the painting?". What I felt I achieved from this painting was a more confident control of my individual brush marks.
After painting the work I got a friend to check it out. Basically, in her words, she felt it looked too 'amateurish'. I tried to quiz her to seek a more specific appraisal. What specific qualities about the painting make it appear amateurish?
Some ideas that came up were:
- It's backgroud is too plain.
- The vase is slightly crooked (with a gradual lean to the left) and it's edges are not symetrical.
Despite these issues one strength of the painting did seem to be it's composition.
So, giving it a little thought, leaves me with the question - Are the weak background and vase distracting the eye away from the centre of interest which are the three flowers? Were the background and vase perhaps over worked with too many brush strokes?
... Keen for anyone to step in at this point!
P.S. Always like to look over general information on a forum before posting and found this in Cut and Paste Critiques:
"Working on an image part by part ends up usually looking fairly inconsistent, and the result is a much weaker image. Instead, try working on an image and bringing it up in stages of polish, this yields much better results."
I must admit that I would mix the background color apply it, mix the foreground color, apply it, mix the vase color, apply it, etc, I'm sure you get the picture. Each common color area was admittedly painted separately ...