Improve this Painting, by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn
Because someone recently told me that critiques of my own work were very helpful to them, here's a painting I'm working on that could use improvement. I thought I had finished this painting, and put it aside to frame, but when I looked at my photo of it, I realized that the balance is off and it will need to be reworked. Balance is one of the most difficult things to teach, but is critical to making a good painting.
The colors are lovely and the single palm fine. The problem is with the clouds. All of the forms in the painting are pointing to the single palm. If the sloping direction of the clouds was in the other direction, the painting would come into a better balance.
In addition, the grasses at the bottom of the palm look too tight and heavy on one side. They were forced together because of the small amount of higher earth so close to the waterl. This happens in the Everglades, where the some plants need to keep their feet just a few inches higher than the surrounding wetlands, and where there's not much soil they clump up tightly. For the paintings sake the grasses would look better on the canvas if they were spread out a little and lightened. Their shape could be made more interesting, too.
Luckily, in acrylic paint this is easy to do. I work very thinly. so there won't be a big buildup of paint to deal with. It may just be a matter of working a little more blue into the clouds on the right and dancing some light into the grasses.
On the other hand, sometimes when you make one correction all the relationships in the painting all change, and it can be hours to get it right. OK, get to work!