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- couldn’t find the lesson description for the trees. Hope I can still submit!. I’ve submitted cacti ( very hard!),another Calistoga interpretation ( much bigger than the last time one, 12x18), a redo of the nocturne with Palms based on your comments and another takeoff of the Calistoga scene. I know the pond there wasn’t exactly blue but if you don’t know by now, I love blue! Thanks!
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These are all from the tree lessons. I think I have greatly benefited. The last pier painting is a summer version of an earlier version in fog. Interested in your evaluation overall plus one vs another. Love the lessons but not doing them right in synch with you.
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These are pieces I’ve been working on for my show here on Martha’s Vineyard. Been loving the tree lessons a lot!
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The path piece is a large work I did after doing the small study , which you had critiqued. It’s quite different though. The second one is from a hike I took in a local park with oak trees in the distance, very much a California landscape. The others were kind of out of my comfort zone, a nocturnal island scene and a floral try !
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Dear Marla, Thank you for your lessons, they are super useful for someone who only starts in pastel and does not know where to begin. Please have a look at my first attempts in pastel - i am quite satisfied with my work - i thought it would be worse. I have however some questions, if you don't mind me asking: 1) I use Sennelier (Paris) pastels and Cancon Mi-teintes Touch (paper) - unfortunately here in Belgium it is very difficult to find the papers you are suggesting in your video...Maybe there is a European equivalent to Colorfix? Anyway my question is that after 1 or 2 layers i have a big issue to put more pastel in the paper - it seems that i have put too much in the first place? Is it me, paper or too soft pastels that go too thickly on the paper? Should i try to work first with hard pastel and then soft on top (i have Cretacolour carre pastels as well) 2) The white pastel which you use for the highlight - it does not go so white when i put it on top of red layers. I seem to manage to put some ''crumbles'' on but not really a nice a smooth highlight. In general is pastel technique a layer technique or is it more about putting the coloured shapes next to each other? I am asking because i have experience with watercolours and the idea there is to put layers on top of each other and mix paints to get the right color (also you start with planning white instead of putting darks first). Obviously it is very different from pastels, i am trying to understand what do i do in case if i need to leave a white highlight (you don't seem to mind to cover it in the first place, however would it not be better if i left it uncovered and then put white on clean paper in the end? Would it not go better on? Sorry for a very long questions, if you have time i would be happy to here your view, Best Regards, Oksana
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Hi Marla, I think my live lesson attempt might have been a bit off with the placement of the water { too high up). The other three paintings are different interpretations and sizes of a reference I got from a friend, taken in Alabama. The surface where the flowers are is rock , although not too lumpy, mostly flat ish with stridations. I had quite a time trying to show that and not sure if I was successful. The rtreee are scrubby pine, the left one being dead but came out in the photo, lavender like, which I enhanced a bit with some of the attempts.
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Hey Marla, hope all is well and you are on your way or in Italy!!! I can't wait for Sept.! I painted all 4 of these large 18x24 and 18x18, so that I could use some big strokes. I set up the still life in my studio and used no photos and it was so much fun!
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This is the from the Making your Mark workshop. I wasn't able to complete this Degas copy before the class ended, but would really like feedback. I learned so much from this lesson and did some additional research on Degas' process to help me better understand what I was painting. I chose one of his dancers because I danced ballet for 15 years. I understand the subject so well that it really helped me understand the fabric and ballet slippers. I look forward to your critique so I can improve!
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Hi Marla, Thank you for taking the time to critique these paintings. I had more difficulty with the horizon plane than the foreground. I kept muddling, smudging the sky especially around the trees. That surprised me! I keep reminding myself of those 3 P's. Thank you for all your sharing of great information.
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I really struggled with this one. This is the second version of this painting.
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Hi Marla It's been a while. I have been busy doing other things, including organising an art show for an art group I belong to. More work than I thought, but I will be more prepared next time. I haven't painted in a month, but that is about to change. Remember when I told you that one of my goals this year was to get a painting accepted into a national show? Well we can put a big tick beside that one! This painting was juried into the Pastel Canada Purely Pastel Show in Aurora, Ontario! I couldn't believe it when I got the email. I had to learn how to package a framed painting for shipment, but I guess I got it right, because it arrived safe and sound. I think you were the juror for this show two years ago? This is one of my favourite scenes and I am sure I will paint it again. I have a few unused credits for critiques, so I thought I would have you do a critique on this painting. I always learn a lot when you critique paintings. I am starting to do those little things you have pointed out to me without much thought. It's coming to me naturally. The painting is 11 x 14 and is painted on brown Pastelmat. I look forward to your comments. Take care, Doug
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Hi, Marla, The first two paintings are my attempts at copying your work. The sorry work is not enhanced by the bad camera work. The third painting is one I did a while ago of my cat and the fourth file is the picture of my cat so you will know what he actually looks like. I'm afraid I have a very long way to go. Your lessons are very helpful and truly inspiring. Thank you. Diana Mezick
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The path piece was an experiment in a panoramic size plus using acrylic ink as an underpainting. Its more of a study. The lighthouse piece was something I wanted to try. Finally the third piece is a scene not far from my house.
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Hello Marla, it was fun following along with the live lesson using color choices that I wouldn’t have chosen myself and seeing how they worked so well. As you will see my work is often muddy as I try to find the right color combinations. I did the one independent assignment photo twice with different results neither of which I was especially pleased with. I would like to be more confident in color choices so every stroke looks fresh. Even if I choose my colors before I start a painting I find myself not happy with them and end up going back to the tray for others. Any advice would be appreciated.
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Hi Marla Please find attached two pieces for your critique. Based on what you can glean from the pieces submitted, what lesson(s) would you suggest I complete next In my journey to become a better pastel painter? Look forward to hearing your comments on what I need to do to improve. Thanks Valentine
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Ok, I have attempted this several times. I included a lot of information several times just to lose it all. So this is brief. Hi, I am one of your new students and am very excited to finally submit a few pictures for critique. Thank you for the time you have spent in creating the on-line lessons, they have been a tremendous help. The first picture is from part one of the lesson. The second picture is from a photo I took near our house of an approaching storm. It is on Forest green La Carte sanded pastel paper. It is 10x6.5 inches. The third picture is another taken near our house. It is on UART 500 paper with an alcohol underpainting. It is 8x6. The 4th picture was from a photo taken in Nicaragua of a black sand beach on the Pacific Ocean. It is on UART 500 and I prepared an alcohol underpainting. It is 10x14. TH They are posted in the order that I painted them. I am looking forward to your honest critique. I am newly retired and finally have time to focus on art; I have a lot of catch up to do. Thank you Cheryl WItham.
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I used two of my drive by photos. The first I spent more than an hour. So I only spent an hour on the second. Not sure they are correct. But going abstract is not easy for me. I enjoy these lessons pushing my comfort. B pieces are 10x10.first piece on a warm sandy pastelmat and the second on dark grey pastel mat. I will send for more UArt sandpaper. Would you explain why the vertical horizon must be square. I understand the water not the land. Thank you. Thanks for your crit. Donna
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Hi Marla, I am getting ready to go to PACE 2018 in Sante Fe and I am very excited and nervous about it. I have been working on my kit for pastels and trying the whole set up out as much as possible. I have three recent Plein Air pieces and I thought I would send a photo showing the watercolor underpainting for the last one as well as the finished painting. I am rereading Edgar Payne’s, Composition of Outdoor Painting in anticipation of the trip to Sante Fe but any words of wisdom, caution or encouragement would be appreciated. I am pretty happy with Early Spring on the Arkansas and I can see the influence of the Mark Making workshop in it. I did Riverside in under an hour after viewing the Abstract Field lesson and the third one is just a Golden Shower tree in the backyard. It was my first try at setting up the Heilman box set up and I spilled my whole box of NuPastels on the ground- a learning experience but I was pretty tense by the time it was finished.
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Hi Marla, I thought I had already submitted for this lesson but Iguess not. I can be a little scattered sometimes. I have three pieces tosubmit for this lesson. The first one is from the paint along with different colors. I liked the color but was not very happy with the foreground so I did it again. I like the foreground in the second one better but still prefer the color in the first:-) The third one is a small pastel of an area nearby, Haikey Creek.
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Marla, here are my two paintings. first is my copy of yours and second is from my photo of a cow path on Gays farm. Very challenging but I feel somewhat confident. I used pastelmat paper with an alcohol pastel wash first.It will be good to hear your crit. I do take pictures as I go. including sketches. Thanks, Donna
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Hi Marla, Both images are based on the lesson related to Afternoon in Taos. Thanks for your support! Patty Russell
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well Marla I think I downloaded the work from my phone. So now you have two pieces. the thumbnail for this too. as you see by the clock I have trouble sleeping. thanks for your help. Donna
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Marla I painted this pastel today after watching lesson 2. Many thumbnails. Not sure when I took the photo. Its Cranberry Lake, in NY. It is small. Please let me know if this is appropriate for a crit. Thanks. I look forward to hearing from you. Donna I cant send the pictures this way. I did send them thru support I think. I will send this as well. Again done during lessons.
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Sorry; last one is duplicate.
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Hi Marla, So glad to be in on the Master Class Series. As a fairly serious artist these days, I am sure your inspiration and knowledge will further my goals. I completed the Point Lobos Lesson. It is such a lovely place and just a 35 minute drive from my home! I do live in paradise! Anyway, the first one is a follow along . The next two are from reference photos I took from our lovely coastal area. I have some questions and also I wanted to add that I did the underpainting with the follow along as well as an underpainting for the Wilder Ranch piece using acrylic liquid color on watercolor paper which I then gessoed. I've gotta say, I'm not a big fan of wet to dry underpainting. The pastels just don't seem to perform as well . I create mud in a short amount of time. Ugh. The third painting with the BIG rock formation on the right of the composition (jeesh that's awfully big and DARK), is from a lovely part of our coast at Ano Nuevo. My question to you about this piece is, given it is backlit, how would you render the big rock so that it is not so foreboding!! And last question, what pastels do you prefer from hard to soft.? Thanks! Donna
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Hello Marla I start again!! Thanks Florence
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Hi Marla I watched the video and thought I would use my own made up scene for the exercise. I can see how going back to a familiar scene will beneficial. I don’t know if I could do it a hundred times or not, but I will be doing more. On these four paintings I changed colour schemes and surfaces. The first one I used Pastelmat and loved it! I have used it in the past and I really wasn’t a fan, but now I find it a fantastic surface. Maybe I have a lighter touch now. The second painting was done on black Colourfix. I hadn’t painted on black for s while. A struggle at first, but enjoyable once I got going. The third painting is done on Sand Ampersand Pastelbord. It amazed me how much pastel it could take. The last painting was done on Uart 400 and was started with. Magenta Pan Pastel under painting. After a slow start, I am up to 22 paintings for the goal of 200 paintings for the year. 15 of those were done this month. It’s a habit now! As always I look forward to your critique. Take care. Doug
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I am working on these birds for a show this summer that Martha’s Vineyard Art Association is doing in partnership with the local Massachusetts Audubon Society property. Fun! They are great horned owl, snowy white and barn owl plus Canada goose and babies. Least crazy about snowy white. Mark making is helping a lot,
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After the two lesson pieces, I have added an improved ( I hope) ocean scene based on your critique, still looks a little dead to me. Maybe sky colors need bolstering? The forest scene was a copy of another pastelists work I saw online. Looked difficult and I just decided to try.
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Hi Marla Here are four more paintings. I’m a bit behind schedule for the 200 paintings, but I’m up to ten paintings and three of those were done in the last four days. I am doing a daily painting challenge for this month, so that should help. I tried to remember the tips you gave me on the last critique. I think I’m getting it. 😁 The demo painting is 12x12 and painted on Uart 320 grit paper. The 8x10 painting is painted on Italian Clay Pastel Premier paper. The other two paintings are painted on 12x12 Elephant Art Spectrum Colourfix paper. I will be interested if you notice a difference with the mark making. Take care! Doug
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Hi Marla, Here is my interpretation of Afternoon in Taos. My style is not like yours but I did my bet to loosen up a bit. I have also included the alternate pastel painting of something different...."Winter Shadows" These are my first two pastels...had never tried them before....so far I love it. Additionally, I included two other acrylic paintings for your critique. I figure I might as well get your thoughts on both mediums. thank you, Mark
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The first picture is the follow along of Blue Evening. The second is one I did from my own photo but thinking about light and shadow.
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Hi Marla, after doing a few lesson I tried the Plein Air of Mt. Bachelor. Once I completed this one I felt more confident to go back to a Plein Air I started late last fall of some farm buildings where I have done a lot of oil paintings. The pastel of Port Oneida area farm is one of the first ones I've done on my own since I joined your library lessons. I'm also sending the reference photo as well.
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Hi Marla, Im a little embarassed submitting this paint along because I really struggled . This was my second attempt. I just couldnt seem to get the perspective right but tired of trying, so I think this is as good as it gets. The others are projects Ive been working on, Hawaiian huts and lastly a small ocean scene.
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Hi Marla, I am submitting my paint along for this lesson and a few others that I did on my own. I enjoy painting skies and we do have some nice ones in Oklahoma. The two that are photographed together are the last two I painted. There are five all together so feel free to choose which ones to critique. Thanks! I also wanted you to know that I am thrilled to have won the Figi Sunset painting in the giveaway. I will treasure it. Thank you so much!
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Marla, I had a lot I wanted you to check out so that is why I have 2 critiques just 1 day apart! LOL, Carol
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