Portfolio of older work

Friday, January 29, 2010

Time for a critique

Time for a critique, please.  The posting at Interpret This! is my gallery opening where you can tell me I am a genius but here is where we can speak the truth (gently please!)  My goal is to continually improve so input (both about what worked and what did not) from other artists is always appreciated.

Here are some observations I have about the piece.  Feel free to comment on them or go off in your own direction for comments.

1.  I thought the black border would be like a frame but I find it too dark--almost funeral.  You know, the way they used to drape black crepe on pictures of people who died.  I do think I will remove it and try a lighter color.  Other than that, I like the softness of the organdy ribbon. 

2.  Hmmm...the satin heart.  Don't like it as much as I like the idea of it. Way too prominant. It would be easy to unsew and make modifications or replace with something else. Any suggestions?

3.  I added the 2 faint oil stenciled hearts in the background hoping that they would make the satin heart feel more at home in the piece.  Instead it feels like grade school amateur to me.  I dislike them intensely but am stuck with them unless you have suggestions.

Things I do think worked well but feel free to disagree.

1.  The writing in the background fading in and out and outside the border.  I think that gives the viewer something of interest when they get closer to the piece.  I like having the back story in the back and weaving in and out.

2. Okay, this is really minor but the draping of my sweater around the neck seemed particularly effective.in technique.  I am pleased with the skill I showed with the oil paint sticks there.

Once the picture is adjusted some, it is going to my mother as her belated Christmas present.

Okay, let her rip.


  1. Judith,

    The few elements of your design that were bugging me are the ones that you have addressed here.

    I, too, think the black edging is too stark for such a delicate picture. My thoughts exactly on the funeral idea--so maybe a blue that is a bit deeper than the blue in your husband's sweater would be good; it would also complement the green background.

    The satin heart seems like it needs to be lower in the composition--more like in the bottom V of the couples joint. You could easily tone it down with some overpainting or dye. Or, just make a new one.

    You might try making another heart in the top right section for the rule of 3 in that area; or a butterfly or some shape that would imply a group of shapes.

    You might be able to do some organdy hearts to place over the stencilled hearts to soften them some--could also do an organdy heart instead of the satin heart to tie all the hearts together.

    I hope this is helpful to you. This is a strongly emotional piece and you were very successful in showing the emotional connection.

  2. You're brave! Never being able to keep my mouth shut, here goes. (But relax, I'm kind.) I agree with you about the writing in the background. It adds a great deal. I also like the way it shows through the oil paint. I like the ribbon border; you may be right about the color, although I hadn't thought of it until you mentioned it. Maybe some color that would pick up the red of the heart, which I like by the way. Maybe both the heart and the border could be a deeper red? You can audition and see. I don't see a problem with the stenciled hearts either.

    It's a really sweet, personal portrait. I think you succeeded in showing what you were aiming for.

  3. I like how your figures seem to be coming out of the background, not just sitting on top of it. And I do think you did a wonderful job with the paintstiks- I've used them, and know how steep the learning curve is.

    I wonder how it would look if the heart were repositioned- say, the lower left corner? And I see your point about the black border. The side of me that loves complementary colors says go for red!!

  4. I am back--there was something about the ruffle that was faintly familiar and I just figured it out. It looks a little like the soft edge on B&W pictures of the 1950s and 1960s. S0, if you decide to redo it and turn it so the ruffled edge is facing out and the straight edge is aligned with the portraits you might get more of a photo impression: Photo of Our Love idea.


  5. I very much like your ruffled ribbon border. If you were to change the color (although, I rather like the black) my vote would be red.

    As for the hearts, Debra's suggestion to overlay them with organza shaped hearts sounds good to me. You could possibly include some writing which on the organza may be in keeping with the writing in the background.

    As for the foreground heart, maybe a red organza ruffle could be added, thus softening the only hard edge in this piece as well as repeating the ruffle element of the border.

  6. I so appreciate all the feedback! I have some time this weekend to fuss with it a bit and see what happens. After this weekend, good or not, it will be finished. I'll post on my blog pictures of any changes I end up making.

    Then, my deck is cleared... well okay my sewing table is cleared... oh okay, in my mind it is cleared, and I am ready to start on the February Concept!

  7. My only criticism is the black lace border. You really don't need a border (or frame) at all.

  8. I really like it. I don' know if I would have thought of it if you hadn't suggested it, but perhaps the frame is a little heavy.

  9. I like the stenciled hearts because without them I would say the figures need moved up in the "frame." I dislike extra background in photos and such... and this is very much like a photo. I like odd numbers of "accessories," but I guess the organza heart at the bottom is the third of the set. I don't like the ruffled border. I think it would be cool to make it photo-like to have the "corners" like people used to use all the time to put photos in albums and now use in scrapbooks. I do love the picture of you and Floyd.


Thanks for reading and please share your thoughts on my work or a link to see your great stuff!