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Thread: I would appreciate a critique on this oil painting.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2018

    I would appreciate a critique on this oil painting.

    This is a painting referenced by a photo I took of some cows who seemed to be interested in what I was doing.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    I was wondering about the lower left corner as well then decided to leave it. Often I will go back and take a second look a couple of days later and look with fresh eyes seems to help me see the changes I should make. It has been my experience with cattle they will not try to crawl through a barb wire fence. They will however try to get through a slick wire fence often getting tangled up causing serious injury's. It is the go to fencing for most rancher for that reason. Thanks for you suggestions.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Looks good. Hard to say without knowing your usual style and so on. So I'm just going to say a couple things regarding the overall picture that may reflect my tastes more than yours so with a grain of salt:

    The eye goes first to the area of most contrast in all cases that I can think of, we're just wired that way. So if you think of the painting as a journey leading their eye based on the hierarchy of emphasis. So with that in mind, you have to look at what you regard as the most important thing for them to see first. That could be the whole composition, it could be the cows' heads, or it could be the fence. Depends on what you want to say.

    As I see this, I see the noses and the fence posts and wire first. Their heads and their ears and all that shape stuff we normally associate with cows isn't really playing much of a role. So psychologically I'm feeling entrapment of the animals rather than a positive thing the meat producers would want to show. They're meat or milk producing machines. I'm basing that solely on how you showed it. Of course we all know what cows look like. But then it comes down to the artist's voice. And that is all you, once you get the hang of having a voice in your work.

    The painting has some neat stuff happening in it. But it comes across like you were more into the technique than the painting, like you're working on your paint chops and maybe looking for a personal style. Most artists do, and some of us spend our lives trying out new stuff all the time. So you're in good company.

    I like the palette knife bit where you scrape away from the animals with color. That's kind of neat and could well serve you as you get some more mileage at it. I personally think placement of those knife marks is a make or break thing. When it works it shows lots of flair. When it doesn't it's very noticeable because it either stands apart or it's a technique used throughout the painting where it's part of an overall style rather than where it draws attention to itself almost more than the subject of the painting. I think the trick to making it work, if you're doing vignettes where there's a model floating on a canvas in which the artist nails the design and chooses just the right marks, where there's often a balance to the whole. If you're wanting to do illustration where text is going onto the picture, that's something you would want to include if you're using it as a presentation of the work you do with an eye to getting future work from it.

    But if it's a fine arts kind of painting to be framed and hung, then text is not an element (usually except if you're promoting your show etc). So my previous comment is where I am with it. There's some nice things happening. And it looks like you were trying stuff out -- which I would probably have picked up on as a possibility based on the level of finish you managed.

    I think you're really close. You have nice subtleties in the sky as to the colors. The knife work is nice. The overall composition idea has potential, meaning the line up of animals is a good grouping. I've personally seen cows showing an interest in me when I wandered by some of them grazing where they wander over and just stare, maybe to see if I was bringing food or something.

    Anyway, I hope this helps. I've done experimental things and was absolutely certain I had painted the best painting ever painted because I was so happy how my experiments turned out, going from my head to the canvas with some fancy brushwork or whatever I was doing at the time. But to anyone else it was probably dull as toast. But I succeeded and got some answers in the process. And the next step was always the challenge -- to try another one only better. I personally filed it away as something I could pull out later down the road as an addition to my go-to style.

    Hope this helps. It may be useful or it may not address the things you were wanting comment on. But keep going and keep juggling all those balls. It will pay off. And it's fun as heck.
    Last edited by D Akey; 01-06-2019 at 10:34 PM.
    "Not a bit is wasted and the best is yet to come. . ." -- remembered from a dream

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