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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Avoid Tangents! One of Many Lessons Learned at Critique Night

Gene and Russ critiquing pastel work by Verna Hash

Thanks again to Gene Lazo and Russ Smith for another helpful Critique Night at the McDowell Arts Center Tuesday night, May 21. Paintings and photographs were brought for their fresh knowledgeable eyes. Here's what happened:

A watercolor painting of a painting of a bee, within the context of a paint table with paints and brushes, brought out a discussion of how avoiding symmetry can bring zing to a work of art. Gene suggested tilting the bee painting rather than having it in line with the painting as a whole. It takes away the symmetry and draws more attention to the bee.

What do you do with a horse portrait when the horse is all brown? Russ suggested playing with the cool shadows to bring out facial features.

A word that was brought up a few times was, "tangent". It applies to when a subject or form touches and is in line with another subject or form. Try to avoid these. For example, in one painting, the peak of a gazebo roof perfectly touched the top edge of a canvas. The result was boring. So what do you do? Take the roof completely off the edge. This is a far better option than having the roof's tip top kissing the canvas' top edge. So... keep it interesting and go off on a tangent.

A lovely photograph was brought on canvas. Is the public receptive to unconventional presentations of photography? The reaction was mixed. That happens when art ventures off from the norm. Be brave. Do what appeals to you.

Some other advise from the audience was, "If you don't like it, don't paint it. Leave it out. You don't have to paint everything you see." "Make a strong distinction between the shaded and unshaded sides of a building." "That flower is positioned perfectly with top and bottom of the subject in the thirds section." "Beach paintings look great in pickled white frames." All this along with encouraging compliments to deserving efforts.

Please note that Critique Night will take a summer hiatus due to vacations but will return in September. Get those paintings ready!

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