Community Critiques

I  know that it takes some guts to share your work, especially if you aren’t on solid ground, but trust me when I say that you won’t be sorry if you do. This website is a place of supportive, creative incubation. I won’t let it be anything else! ​
-Marla
Hi Marla, Here's 3 of my latest paintings. I'm so happy I started using pastels... I love them. I plan on trying to alternate between oil and pastel. Not sure how I will like going back to oils but thought I should try since I dedicated 2018 to pastels.
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Happy New Year Marla- I got back to my painting after the holidays- missed it! I love playing with the colors. I need some work on my river shapes but I’m getting there. Thanks- Carole
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Hi Matla, Attached you will find my effort for the independence assignment "Water & Reflections", as well as a copy of one of your croped reference photos and my sketch. I know that the piece isn't rendered in a "loose" style; however, I enjoyed painting the details. Happy New Year, Don
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Hi Marla- First I want to say how much I am enjoying your videos! It is very meditative for me during a holiday time when I am missing my husband. I lost him November 2017 and golf and painting have been part of my recovery. I really struggled with these clouds so I thought it was time to get some pointers. I guess because you make it look so easy, I was thinking the same for me 😁. Thanks Carole
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Hi - just finished your Winter Glow lesson. still struggling with negative space, getting it right the first time, - fussing. This was the first time I've worked on tinted paper - a dark paper is not a good choice for snow scenes I think! Still problems with the sledding painting, and the lesson copy lesson painting is too dark and too purple... but time to move on. But, much learned with each attempt. Looking forward to being your student!
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Hi Marla, I have resubmitted the mountain scene , rearranging Th foreground trees like you suggested and the lit path scheme where I gave mor the illusion of the path continuing. I also tried another urban scene, which was incredibly challenging but I’m pretty satisfied. The ocean scene is also here, s bigger painting than the study aat 12x16. Thank you.
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Marla, in addition to the Part 1 'follow along' abstract field, I am also submitting 1) A raining cloud done on 9 X 9 storm blue Colourfix paper (I copied this painting from artist John O'Grady) 2) abstract beach done on 9 X 9 rose grey colourfix (I copied this painting from artist Lisa Ridgers) and 3) another stormy abstract field which I did from a landscape photo I found on the internet. The paper I used was colourfix, but I do not remember the paper color. I feel like I needed to include another element or band of color in this painting in retrospect to give it more interest. In the photograph, there were backside figures of a man and small child walking in the field. I did not have enough confidence to add the figures when I did the painting, but I am getting more confident every day. In all 4 paintings, I used Sennelier, Terry Ludwig, and Nupastels.
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Hi Marla! Love Your Work and Thank You for all of your most generous lessons! ... I did these painting about 6 months ago. Just trying to get into a groove here and develop a consistent practice. Thank You for your time. ... Sarah Neglia.
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The first image is the follow along, 12x12 in., on NuArt 400 paper. The second is 9x12 in. on Wallis paper, done from a photo of a stream not far from Tucson The Third is on 12x9 in. Ampersand Pastel board. It had a watercolor underpainting, but I covered up most of it with pastel. The last one is also on the pastel board, 12x9 in. On this one, I left most of the watercolor underpainting showing and used pastel for detail and contrast. These last two were done from memory and some photos taken during the years I worked in the Canyon--real places with a lot of artistic license. The pastel board is my favorite surface for watercolor underpainting. It creates some great textures that I then hate to cover up--I feel I need to work on creating underpaintings which lay a foundation for the pastel rather than a painting that stands on its own. The Desert Stream one feels overworked to me--I sprayed it with workable fixative, and that created a strong texture that I had a hard time covering. The trees don't have that light, feathery look of desert trees that I love. Have a great Thanksgiving--no hurry on the critique! Julia Graf
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First photo: Part 1 - Flower Field Follow-Along Demo on 12" x12" white Pastel Premier sanded paper. Second photo: Part 2 - Independent Assignment. My rendition of Nel Jensen's Poppy Field done on 11" x 14" white Pastel Premier paper with an alcohol under-painting.
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HI Marla, The ocean painting is a small study which I am now doing on a large scale. Its on black paper. The forest scene is a piece that I decided to do on black paper , high chroma. The building is from an art center near here, very old buildings. I forced myself to do since buildings and people are my two most dreaded subjects. The more abstract ocean scene was done at a workshop
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Hello Marla Thanks for this lesson! I'm back!
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Hello Marla, Trees and Skies, copies of you and two of me. What I really like about following the lessons is all the material to look at. I learn a lot from the critics at the bottom of the lessons! What strikes me about myself! I lose myself too much in reproducing your work in the red tree. The sky just like that. The second photo from the skies is my view of the gallery I live on the second floor. I look quit near the next lesson ´ flowers´ were kind regards from, Wies
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I had fun doing these. It was a very good lesson demonstrating how one can use color to create very different looking paintings from the same basic scene. I feel like I am slowly getting a better understanding about how to apply pastels. I realize I still have a long journey ahead, but I feel so grateful to have found such a good teacher through the magic of the internet. There was no one for me locally that teaches pastels.
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I submitted two St Moritz , one small study and one larger . The small was on natural Uart and the other was on charcoal paper. The trail scene was an enlargement of the one I submitted last time with more light in the center, as you suggested.
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Hello Marla,, This time I send 3 works of 3 lessons for criticism because I want to know if I`m progrsssing. I watch your videos different times and enjoy them verry much Kind regards, Wies
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Hi Marla I would appreciate a Critique on Lesson 12, please. I have so far,not done many " still life "; but I do enjoy this ! With thanks and regards. ALAIN
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Firsally submitting some work. All small studies
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Hi Marla, Please critique this abstract landscape. Thanks! Nancy Komick
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Painting clouds looks easy, but for me, it is not. I have a hard time keeping my fingers off of them, but I seem to be able to make them look more realistic that way. I am hoping a little more practice and experience will overcome the fingers!
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Hi Marle, The first photo is a copy of my rendition of the Abstract Field exercise.done on 9" x 9" white Pastel Premier paper. The second is a copy of my rendition a cropped version of one of your referenace photos. it is 9" x 9" done on brown Pastelmat. I have attached a copy of the reterence photo. I like the feel the the Pastelmat paper versus the medium grit surface of the Pastel Premier paper. Don .
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Hi Marla, Both of these paintings are 9" x 9" on sand colored paper.
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Hello Marla, I wish yoy a nice trip. Lesson 6 I work wiht the next merkel, Rembrandt, schmincke en sennelier. In the 3rd photo I did not succeed in applying texture to the last layer, did I continue too long? Kindly greeting Wies
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Marla, I use four of your photo,s as a exemple! I have adjusted them,les than an hour worked each! Worked with pleasure Greetings from Wies
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Hi Marla, I'm happy with the apple but was unable to find the right color pastels for the red-orange combinations for the pear. I feel that right side of the pear is too dark. Don
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Marla, I did both of these paintings on Canson Mi-Tientes paper, because it was all I had on hand. I have the sanded papers you suggested on order from Blick, which I should be receiving in the next couple of days. I could have waited for the delivery, but I wanted to get started. However, I definitely discovered why you don't like the Canson paper. I ran into the issue of filling up the tooth on both paintings! If I learned nothing else during this lesson, it was this! I decided to only submit these two paintings for this lesson, mostly because of the paper I have. Next lesson I should have the right stuff. When I was a kid, I was really interested in art and even considered majoring in it at college, but changed to business instead. Now, I am retired and finally have time for a hobby. My brother-in-law has painted in pastels for about 20 years, so I got the idea to pursue this from him. So far, I'm loving it, but really need some guidance. I love your work and your style.
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I Kept myself busy wiht fruit! had so much fun with it! Use a photo from your album for the landscape. my trees in the distance made it difficult for me! Kind regards, Wies
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Dear Marla, May I introduce myself. Wies is my name and I live in the Netherlands. Pastel grabbed me here for watercolour! I would like to improve in landscape. Think that is the most difficult theme, attached picture,s show what I make so far. I want to be a pastelist and possibly sell, that is my goal! Thank you for your wandeful picture,s Kind regards, Wies
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Hello Marla, I copy your paintings lesson 2 It is on colourfix one underpinning with acrylic ink! Greeting Wies
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This is for Trees in Pastel Workshop, but I didn't see that as an option in pull down menu. I hope I'm not doing this wrong! I had a slow start on the lessons due to travel and work, but I'm getting there! I watched the recorded live session and enjoyed it very much. I was at work during the live event. I would love to have another opportunity to participate!
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Dear Marla, I had great pleasure watching your Daydreaming Yellow lesson. I tried to follow your guidance. On v1, I am not sure the tree area really works. On v2, this part works maybe a bit better. And for the personal assignment, I wanted to play with purple as the complementary color to yellow, so the purple hedges interact with the yellow field. Looking forward to your feedback & guidance. Solene
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Hi Marla, I am new to pastel. The apple like the lesson was the first one. then my green apple, then the pear. Looking forward to hearing you thoughts. Thank you.
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The second piece is using my own reference, not a different color study on the first one.
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Hi Marla, first I very much enjoy your lessons and tips. Your work is beautiful. Next a bit about me. I am 66, recently retired. I have been "drawing" since I could hold a crayon, never had any training or lessons before yours. Since I have a bit more time now I thought I would see what a little practice might let me achieve. I chose pastels because I have never held a brush except to paint walls and didn't want to start there. I consider myself a beginner. So that said, with all the courage I could muster I am sending the lesson piece from Winter's Glow, along with the second piece you provided as a demo. Also two pieces from my photos, one of a Cape Cod beach in winter, and one of a cranberry bog ( not snow but all the floating berries appealed to me ). Photos included. Paper is Pastel Premier. A variety of pastels, including Terry Ludwig, Sennelier, and Mt Vision. I very much admire your looser/easy style. As you can see left to my own devices I resort to a much more over worked "realistic" style. Anyway critique as many as you like,and since technology is not my friend, if I have submitted incorrectly just have support let me know and I will try again.
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I’m a beginner without previous experience drawing or painting except for working through Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by myself. Looking forward to her help!!
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Hi Marla, nice to work with your lessons again)) So here are my works for the River lesson. I have problems with combining small shapes into bigger ones. I really love your artwork with red sky - it's so vivid, so I was trying to make something like this (with green&pink grass) but I guess I could not unify it well... Waiting for your help and suggestions))) Anna
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Doing the follow along, I realized I have a very light touch—much of the pastel sunk into the tooth when sprayed lightly. I added quite a bit more Pastel to come up with the panting in the first photo. After that, I started using softer pastels and did an underpainting. All are 9x12 inches The first and second are on ArtSpextrum ColourFix sanded paper. The first and second are on ArtSpectrun Colourfix sanded paper. The third is on Ampersand Pastelboard, which I like very much for watercolor underpainting. The last photo is the reference for the two before—a watercolor on Yupo that I did many years ago, remembering the view out our window when we lived in central Illinois. In my watercolors, I strive for spontaneity and movement and would like to bring that quality to my pastels. The last one has a watercolor underpainting and more movement than the others—I think I will do it again and use water later in the process. Julia
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