Saturday, October 31, 2015


La Rouge

Watercolor on half sheet (15 x 22 inches) 
Arches 140# cold press paper

Just breaking from the flowers and plants for a minute or two.  

Give me an honest opinion, please.  I didn't get much feedback when I showed this to my students so I think they didn't like it or didn't know what to think of it.

FYI, I started this a long time ago and put it aside - didn't know what to do with it or where it was going.  It was from a photo I took while watching something on t.v. but I can't find the photo now so I just pulled this mess out and started messing with it.  Yes, it's a mess.  Yes, her little thin arms and hands are tiny compared to her full figure.  So...the uptilted head and reds I like.  The arch in black and curves around (but cannot be easily seen = a mistake).  

What else?  What would you change?  Or would you just put it in the round bin with the others done lately?


Jeanette Jobson said...

I like the slightly eerie feel this has and would love to know your thoughts about what you were trying to achieve with it. Were you going for abstract or representational?

There is a lot going on in terms of colours, some competing with each other, some muddied and not able to play their part through contrast and saturation.

The figure is stylized and looks as if she's leaning forward from the smaller arms/hands. The black crescent on the left side is distracting. I don't know what that black curve is or how it relates to the painting. A sword, a knife? If so, more light needs to come into it to make it apparent.

Its very difficult to create a painting out of memory as our memory is 99% incorrect. Unless you have drawn/painted the same subject hundreds of times so that its image is seared into your brain, its necessary to have an image or subject in front of you to refer to shapes and lighting. Lighting (values) will make or break a painting and are one of the most important elements in painting or drawing.

Colour theory is also important. I believe you have a good grasp of it, but may be a little impatient to see results and put a lot of colours in place at perhaps incorrect times so that they get desaturated. Often less is more and patience is key. Have you tried created colour charts to see what colours you can achieve with your palette? I also find that a little swatch paper of the same type that I'm using is important so that I can test colours before I put them on my main piece.

Also with colour, mixing on the palette and not on the painting is crucial to obtain clean, saturated colours.

Keep going, but plan carefully, observe closely, know your subject, and choose your colours wisely. You can do it!

RH Carpenter said...

Jeanette, thanks for the time and thought you put into this critique! You gave me a lot to look at and think about - Sweetie hated that black arch, too, and, seriously, it didn't mean anything but that I got stuck on it and made it more prominent. Tried to make it like an arching swing she was on, but that didn't work. So...will think about these things as I look at this one again. Since it's watercolor, I won't redo it in watercolor (just more mud) but I could go in with acrylics, maybe...or start over again and see where it takes me...

Lorraine Brown said...

Hi Rhonda, know what you mean when you dont get any comments, mostly it does mean the work is not well understood. This is something different from you and obviously has some abstract features and these always seem to have to be explained in my opinion. I dont see what the black scarf, twirl around your figure represents so for me this does get me wondering

Caroline Simmill said...

Hi Rhonda, work like this is often very personal, an exploration into dreams and ideas, the subconscious. The work has a surreal quality and is almost mesmerizing in the way the viewer is drawn into the work and wonders what does it all mean. It can be useful to keep works like this very spontaneous and then keep them together in a folder or drawer and then just follow where these ideas take you. These kinds of works a bit like a mind journal don't actually need to be 'good' or 'bad' they simply are and could be a way forward in how you explore dreams or simply ideas. I think as soon as you make a judgement on this whether it is good or bad then you lose what it is saying to you. Lots of interesting imagery that dress is almost blood red, the black arch reminds me of your crow paintings. For a moment I wondered if this painting was something to do with the crows. um, how exciting Rhonda, go for it!!!

E.M. Corsa said...

First off, I love the color scheme, very mysterious and it evokes a lot of feeling.

Yes, the black arch (scarf?) is distracting. I think it boils down to proportion and you know me, I like to work from life whenever possible. I also think you answered your own question when you talk about the small hands.

BUT I give you lots of credit for trying something new and putting it out there. It's easy for all of us to offer suggestions but you don't see me putting something on my site that I haven't done before. So good for you!

RH Carpenter said...

The best thing about the comments so far is that it makes you all wonder! ha ha Maybe that's all I was on about, to begin with but...I so appreciate your honesty (not easy to be honest and true when one often worries about hurting someone's feelings, etc.). But I am fine with these comments and will take them and think about them. However, I do like Caroline's comments about this being mine - personal, introspective, coming from something into something else...not good or bad...just something that came out from colors and shapes and a quick image of a pretty woman with red hair...

Thanks so much for being honest and giving me your considered opinions (I know all of these are thought out before putting fingers to keys and that, in itself, is a gift to me!), Elizabeth, Caroline, Lorraine and Jeanette!!

I am reworking, using fluid acrylics and a gesso and acrylic medium mix - we shall see where this lady goes! ha ha Sometimes, one just wants to break through into something else. I think I am happy with past paintings but now want something else - something less perfect and pure and traditional...not that I know what that is yet but I'm working towards it every time I pick up my brushes (I hope).

We are all in this journey together!! Happy trails :)

Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

don't bin it, but def try to do something with the arch. its distracting and really draws my eye at least, away from the figure and it shouldn't since the red is so vibrant(I like the red, clashes a little with the other colours but its nice)

Gary L. Everest said...

Hi Rhonda,
I'm with Caroline on this. It's tough to critique something acknowledged as a less-than-serious, or even finished work.
As it is, it's wonderful, because you're experimenting and having some fun. I'd say keep doing what you're doing, along with the great attitude and let your paintings take you where they may.
You've proven you're capable of creating wonderful art, so this, in truth, should not even be evaluated--by us, least of all. It's what you got from the effort that counts.
Have a most pleasant week.

Deborah Nolan said...

Rhonda- I like the fact that she is looking up. There is something about the color red and black that gives a mysterious feel. I think if you like it- that is what matters. Even though as artists we seek approval from others - at the end of the day we have to ask ourselves is this work meaningful to us? If so then go for it. Hugs

RH Carpenter said...

I appreciate you taking the time to comment on this one, Gary, Jennifer Rose and Debbie. You will see something very different next time!