One of our members – Amber, sent in her two pictures for feedback from Colin. When you join our membership you are eligible to receive advice and tips on your work. To find out more about the benefits of joining, click here.
Hello Colin and Steve!
Thank you so very much for the compliments and feedback on my Spitfire and Rooster. Colin, I had not noticed that line on my Rooster until you mentioned it. Now I cannot “unsee” it. I haven’t had a chance to go back to it, but I will be doing that in the near future. Thank you again for the detailed critique. I truly appreciate it. I find that when I am not working or painting, I am looking at all sorts of tutorials and tips to improve my pastel skills. Also, I received my paper shipment very quickly, so I thank you for that as well!
Attached are my latest two paintings. The first is the Boxer dog. I had a lot of fun on this piece. I struggled a little with the black/dark areas under the nose the most. I think because there is a lot going in in that area. My second picture is a commission that I was asked to do after I had posted the completed Boxer on my Facebook page. I had several friends ask if I could paint their dogs. I took the challenge, and it was definitely a challenge. This is the first dog I have done with long multicolored fur, and the first one I have done without one of your tutorials. I watched the tutorial on the Rough Collie to get an idea of how to go about the fur. It was still quite a challenge. Overall, I am happy with the piece. There are always areas that I can go back to, but I think that is with almost piece. The Miniature Australian Shepherd was done on PastelMat and I used the Faber Castell pastel pencils and a combination of soft pastels to get my darks and lights. Again, thank you for the kind compliments on my previous pieces, and I look forward to your response.
Thank you so very much,
Listen to Colin’s advice or read the transcription below
Hi Amber, so pleased you took on board things I said about your rooster. It was only a small thing but I do know exactly what you mean when I point something out or someone points something out you can’t unsee it then. But that’s a good lesson to learn. Let’s go to your boxer. You said the area underneath the nose -the black gray area. Yes I do understand how you face a problem with that. It’s not an easy one for me to actually go into. But this comes into the category when is a line not a line you draw those lines you think well they look right how am I going to alter them.
There’s a very subtle difference in the one thing I can help you with is the division in the nose – that’s OK. Nothing wrong with that. In fact the actual nose itself isn’t bad at all. If you drop down then the division between the area on two sides. You’ve got the right side and the left side just under the nose. That larger area just before we hit the mouth. You’ve got a division in the middle of that. Now that’s not bad. But what I would have done with that is spread it a bit more and how you do that it should go either side of that line. Very very fine you probably have to use a very fine point for this and use it on its side to shade it so it doesn’t look like a dead line. It’s not easy to do. And I would suggest what you do is look at my picture again or look at the pictures I’ve done of similar things and you’ll see what I mean.
I would had that problem when I first started and I had to get over it. It’s not bad and you could leave it alone I certainly wouldn’t do anything about that now. I’d leave it because it’s a good picture. And as you say it’s attracted a lot of attention quite rightly too. It’s something you’ve just got to work on what you do is when you look at a reference photograph your own reference photograph you look at that and you have to weigh up how how best can I represent it. It will come to you and obviously as time goes on with more practice and you’ll understand that better. If we go onto the dog now that’s really good you’re great a great job at that and the only thing I would point out to you is when’s a line not a line again and you’ve got that on the right hand side you see that line that stop point.
What I would have done with that is in fact I’ve got a picture now just out of interest taken it away from this a moment. I’ve got a picture which I want to do again it’s a picture that lot of people have seen me do many many years ago I never did it as a project it was just done as a fun thing for me and what I did I put what you’ve done there I put boards in. I’ve looked at it since then I think no I shouldn’t have done I should have made it a carpet which is what I’m going to do next. So you’ll see that eventually on the members site that I probably will show the picture as it is with the the boards you know the floor boards and then I’ll show it with the carpet. That’s what you could have done it would have avoided those lines you’ve got in there.
So sometimes you have to do things like that but that line that I’m talking about on the right hand side if you wanted to keep it you don’t want to do anything. Now you’ve done it and I would keep it as it is. You fade that out as though you’re losing the board as it goes back. Now you’ve got to go back quite a way there because the animal is laying you can see the back of the animal and the side of the animal so you’ve got to go beyond that point that you’ve got to recess it beyond that point and then fade out. But that line is not a good idea. I’d get rid of it now if you do that unfortunately you’ve got to do the other side as well. You’ve got to do the same thing but you could fade out and there’s nothing wrong with fading into that background.
I see you’ve got a brown in there which suggests to me that that was your intention initially – the brown to continue. The reason I say a carpet would be better is it loses those lines and those lines could be a distraction from the animal. In my opinion but don’t do it on this because you’ll spoil the picture and it would be wrong to do it but you could if you wished and you feel like it just move that line back so it fades away. I would say somewhere to the edge of the brown smudgey-bit you’ve got. Which is about halfway up the animal. That would be good to fade it to there so it fades away.
Again if you look at some of the pictures I’ve done you’ll see how I’ve done that with carpets, grass, all sorts of things and I fade away into the background. Background is fine. I hope this helps. And I look forward to seeing more of your work later on.