Wednesday, April 21, 2010


6x6 Oil on Ampersand Gessobord

Recently I read a comment made by one of my favorite artists, Gwen Bell. She said that she posts her good paintings and her not so good paintings (although I have yet to see one!). I debated whether or not to post this. I decided that I would in hopes that I would get some honest critique. I chose to paint these cups and saucers to work on ellipses. My first couple of tries were wipe outs so I tried doing the diamond shape and connecting. Well, instead of roundness I painted squares. Yikes! Any comments on ellipses or anything else is VERY welcome.


  1. Linda,
    I happen to really like this painting.
    Did you go for a bit squarish?To me they look believable. I like the way you handled the lost and found edges. I like the value stucture of the cups and saucers. The color harmonizes well and the brushwork is luscious!

  2. Linda this is lovely! I'm sorry, I have nothing to offer in the way of help with ellipses, they are the bain of my existence. but the good news is the less perfect they look the better they are, as in your painting. Great job!

    Aren't Gwen's painting outstanding?

  3. Hi Linda, I struggle with that too - both things actually - whether to post pieces I'm not happy with AND ellipses : ) The feedback I hear is that people like seeing the whole process, struggle and all (painful isn't it?!). And regarding the ellipse battle, I was told to draw them over and over and over. Repetition is helping, but they are still a challenge. I googled "how to draw ellipses" as a refresher course and found helpful advice online. You may want to try softening the deep wine coloured shadow line at the base of your teacup, so that you don't see a point. And other than that, I think it's really quite lovely. Your colours are absolutely beautiful!

  4. Lovely colors and a great start.

    Critique? Darker darks. Really taking the shadows into a darker range will make your blue-green cups and saucers shine.

    On the elipse issue...difficult but not insurmountable challenge. An elipse has an axis, the line drawn from the two narrower ends. Find that axis. Draw the line and look closely to see how far away the edges of the cup or saucer bend away from that line.

    I think the other 'trick' is to continue "drawing" (or looking and seeing deeply) well into the painting process. Keep finding the elipse, the axis, the edges like you would in a gestural pencil drawing. You can clean up the multiple and redundant lines later. And trust your hand to draw the circular or elliptical edges, using your wrist or elbow, depending on the scale, as the center point. On a tiny painting like this, turn it around to be able to use your hand and arm freely. If you use the ends of your fingers to try to find the right curve, you will end up with a segmented or awkward edge.

    I hope you're not sorry you asked for critique! This painting is nearly there and to ask for critique is the sign of an ardent student of painting heading toward success. I appreciate the same on my site, BTW!!

  5. I think you should look at this painting. Sally Tharpe once more shows 'how its done'. Look at the values, the delicacy, the precision. I am always in awe of her work

  6. Looks like the ellipses are pretty good... maybe a bit squarish... but pretty darn good.

    Help me out.... What's the trick with the diamond shape all about??? I've never heard that???

    I always have trouble with ellipses...

  7. Hi Linda!.... My first visit to your site and "I" very much enjoyed visiting!

    As for "critiquing" your cups and saucers... I would just say that your design is exciting and not at all static... it's lively! Your colour harmony and tonal values work!

    Carol Marine would applaud your effort after taking her clss... a wonderful opportunity to learn... from a gifted mentor.

    My only suggestion would be:

    Beware too much leaning towards trying to be your mentor(s)! Be your Self!I like your work... your "Voice"... and ideas! Be proud to post and express them!

    Good painting!
    Bruce Sherman

  8. Hi Linda, I also struggle with ellipses. I find that sometimes if you just change your vantage point that can help. Also if you sometimes turn the painting upside down you can see where the ellipse is uneven. Hope this helps!

  9. I really think the close values (hard to do) are effective here, just enough difference in the subject and background color to make the cups stand out

  10. I think I thanked everyone personally, but just in case I missed someone I want to say THANK YOU! All your comments were so helpful.

  11. Hi Linda,

    Great painting of my favorite colour of china.

    Take care,


  12. haha--Linda, I love this aqua china painting just as it is. I do see what you mean about the ellipses on the stacked cups, but it didn't trouble me. I think I liked the colors so well I didn't see any trouble at all. I do think it is fun and interesting to put up the pieces we aren't 100% "behind", however, I must warn you if you ever tell the peeps that you don't like something OMG they come out of the woodwork to offer solutions. lol. In this case, you've asked so the posters above are "excused" but really, something like "had a little trouble with this ellipse" will garner a whole sles of comments on what I should do. Uh. I wasn't REALLY asking! lol lol.


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