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Copyright April M Rimpo All Rights Reserved. You may share my work with attribution and a link to this source site, but all other uses are prohibited.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

"Back Strap Weaver": A Helpful Critique

"Back Strap Weaver" (at the time of the critique, after the modifications, final painting) 
"Back Strap Weaver"
28" X 19" image
36" X 27" frame
$1250 when shipped within the United States*

Lately I've gotten into the habit, toward the end of a painting, of consulting with my son for his thoughts.  I usually have one or two small things I want to adjust but I find his input is also quite valuable.   My studio is upstairs, so generally he has not seen the painting before.   He doesn't know what I am trying to achieve, but he does know whether it needs something.  (My son is working on an art degree.)

He starts by telling me where his eye is drawn in the painting and confirms whether that is the goal.  Often it is my intended focal point, but as we discuss it further I sometimes find out that the reason his eye is pulled there could be dangerous.  For example, in a recent painting I wanted the viewer to understand the loom used by the weavers in Guatemala but to ultimately look at the weaver's hands and the area where she is working.  He was looking in that area, but the reason he was looking there was the striped bag that was sitting under the loom right below her hands.  He commented it was the high contrast between the stripes that attracted him.  I had left the white stripes as the white of the paper to help draw attention to that area, but when he mentioned the high contrast between the stripes I realized people may only focus on the bag.  I decided I needed to add a shadow on the lower edge of the bag so the whites still pulled the eye in, while the reduced amount of high contrast would not hold their eye on the bag and allow it to move to the hands.  I believe this small change was a critical modification and I was really glad we had spent some time talking about why his eye was drawn to the focal point.  I could have just thought "good he's looking at the right place", but by asking a few questions I found out I had overlooked an important distraction that I had to fix.

Other changes made between the before and after images are a final wash other the fabric to shift its color from brown to black, another darker wash on her hand and  arm to add pinks to her flesh tone, and the shadows on the arm were enhanced.

* Contact April regarding shipments outside the United States

Copyright April M Rimpo All Rights Reserved. You may share my work with attribution and a link to this source site, but all other uses are prohibited.

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