Marsden Rock from the clifftop

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JJWilliamson
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Marsden Rock from the clifftop

Post by JJWilliamson » Fri Aug 02, 2019 1:47 pm

Marsden Rock from the clifftop. Oil on canvas board 510 x 410 mm. My fifth painting in the series showing the now world famous Marsden Rock, this time from the Marsden Grotto car park. Dear beer. (pricey)

Revised version on top. Most recent revision added.
Marsden Rock revised 04 08 2019 001 (800 pix).jpg
Marsden Rock revised 04 08 2019 001 (800 pix).jpg (230.44 KiB) Viewed 2016 times
Marsden Rock revised 03 08 2019 008 (700 pix).jpg
Marsden Rock revised 03 08 2019 008 (700 pix).jpg (171.26 KiB) Viewed 2038 times
South Shields and Marsden Rock 02 08 2019 004 (500 pix).jpg
South Shields and Marsden Rock 02 08 2019 004 (500 pix).jpg (110.44 KiB) Viewed 2065 times
South Shields and Marsden Rock 02 08 2019 004 (500 pix).jpg
South Shields and Marsden Rock 02 08 2019 004 (500 pix).jpg (110.44 KiB) Viewed 2065 times
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South Shields and Marsden Rock 02 08 2019 004 (700 pix).jpg
South Shields and Marsden Rock 02 08 2019 004 (700 pix).jpg (183.87 KiB) Viewed 2059 times
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Re: Marsden Rock from the clifftop

Post by Perry » Sat Aug 03, 2019 1:38 am

JJ, I hope you don't mind, but my comments on this painting aren't going to be quite as flattering. My focus is primarily on realism.

The best part of the painting to me is the foamy water in the lower-left. It looks very realistic. The large rock sticking out of the water has a flat, two-dimensional appearance (to my eyes). Even though it's a rock, I think it could look more three-dimensional if you worked at it. The water to the right of the rock doesn't look consistent with the foamy water to the left of the rock -- indeed, it looks almost striped, as if there were waves running diagonal to the rest of the water. I'm guessing, however, that you painted this from a real scene, and that that is what you saw. The smooth green sea above the foamy part looks very green indeed, so much so that it doesn't strike me as right (but then, I don't go to the water very often). In the sky, the clouds on the left look over-done to me, as if you got overly creative in trying to make them look amazing. The grass on the mound overlooking the sea looks out of proportion, as if those were giant blades of grass. Personally, I would have made the grass look finer.

I'm not saying that I don't like the painting. Indeed, when I try to quiet the critical part of my mind, it looks good. But when it comes to both art and poetry, the details are very important.

Before she died, my mother had a painting which she adored. It was a water-color, and it was painted by a local artist. It showed the glassy surface of a greenish pond, with tall reeds coming out of the water in the background. In the middle of the pond, there was a stick protruding from the water -- just a stick with its reflection. The stark simplicity of the painting was what made it remarkable. It's pretty clear that you like to paint water and skies. All I'm suggesting is that you take a more minimalist approach. Put fewer elements in your paintings. Go for the subtle approach instead of the grand approach.

This is just a thought. I'm not suggesting that you abandon the grand approach forever if that is what you really like. It may sound strange to have me recommending minimalism to you when I don't care for minimalism in poetry, but the two disciplines -- painting and poetry -- are very different.
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

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Re: Marsden Rock from the clifftop

Post by JJWilliamson » Sat Aug 03, 2019 8:21 am

Thank you very much, Perry, for a truly marvellous critique. Very much appreciated.

I agree with most of your points and you've managed to focus on some of my own niggles. That is exactly what I wanted to read.
Perry wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 1:38 am
JJ, I hope you don't mind, but my comments on this painting aren't going to be quite as flattering. My focus is primarily on realism. ...I don't mind in the least, indeed I welcome frank and honest critique with open arms. Praise is wonderful to receive but critique makes me better. I'm always saying that. I'll post the photo I used to paint this scene, although you'll see I have used some artistic licence.

The best part of the painting to me is the foamy water in the lower-left. It looks very realistic. ...Good. Thanks for that.

The large rock sticking out of the water has a flat, two-dimensional appearance (to my eyes). Even though it's a rock, I think it could look more three-dimensional if you worked at it. The water to the right of the rock doesn't look consistent with the foamy water to the left of the rock -- indeed, it looks almost striped, as if there were waves running diagonal to the rest of the water. I'm guessing, however, that you painted this from a real scene, and that that is what you saw. ...I did but I've overcooked it and your comments make perfect sense to me. Consider it changed.

The smooth green sea above the foamy part looks very green indeed, so much so that it doesn't strike me as right (but then, I don't go to the water very often). ...I'll take a very close look at the greens but they are there in real life. Might be too much.

In the sky, the clouds on the left look over-done to me, as if you got overly creative in trying to make them look amazing. The grass on the mound overlooking the sea looks out of proportion, as if those were giant blades of grass. Personally, I would have made the grass look finer.

I'm not saying that I don't like the painting. Indeed, when I try to quiet the critical part of my mind, it looks good. But when it comes to both art and poetry, the details are very important.

Before she died, my mother had a painting which she adored. It was a water-color, and it was painted by a local artist. It showed the glassy surface of a greenish pond, with tall reeds coming out of the water in the background. In the middle of the pond, there was a stick protruding from the water -- just a stick with its reflection. The stark simplicity of the painting was what made it remarkable. It's pretty clear that you like to paint water and skies. All I'm suggesting is that you take a more minimalist approach. Put fewer elements in your paintings. Go for the subtle approach instead of the grand approach. ...I understand where you're coming from and find myself nodding along with your thoughts. I'm in the realist camp with a hint of hyper to up the ante on impact and drama. I'll see if the photo helps, but this was one hell of a dramatic day.

This is just a thought. I'm not suggesting that you abandon the grand approach forever if that is what you really like. It may sound strange to have me recommending minimalism to you when I don't care for minimalism in poetry, but the two disciplines -- painting and poetry -- are very different. ...An interesting thought. I'm certainly not against minimalism, even believing that less is often more, but finding the balance is the tricky part.


Delighted the overall effect was pleasing.

Best

JJ
South Shields Waves 07 05 2019 003 (700 pix).jpg
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Re: Marsden Rock from the clifftop

Post by JJWilliamson » Sat Aug 03, 2019 12:09 pm

I've adjusted the foreground grass and changed the sea to the right. Probably not done yet.

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Re: Marsden Rock from the clifftop

Post by Perry » Sat Aug 03, 2019 3:54 pm

The picture explains a lot.

To your eyes, when standing in that location, the sea may be very green, but it is certainly less green in the picture.

The rock looks more three-dimensional in the picture (as it would, of course).

The grass is finer and not so heavy-looking -- but I suppose you can't do much about that. It must be impossible to paint a line the width of a hair with a paint brush.

I see that you took liberties with the sea to the right of the rock. The water looks more realistic in the picture.

And, of course, the real clouds are more subtle than the clouds you painted.

It does seem to me that you want to "pump up" reality and make it look more grand. If I were a painter, I would take a different approach. I would probably use impressionistic brush strokes to reproduce the picture as accurately as possible in those unique strokes -- see what I mean? It seems to me that you are trying to paint realistically, but trying to improve upon the scene. But if you improve on the grandeur of a scene too much, you risk painting something that doesn't look real.

The clouds are a good example. The clouds you painted were so unusual that I couldn't recognize normal cloud formations in them.

P.S. If I ever make comments that you dislike or resent, you're free to say that. We're all human. We don't have to like negative comments.
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

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Re: Marsden Rock from the clifftop

Post by JJWilliamson » Sun Aug 04, 2019 5:35 am

Thanks again, Perry, for dropping back in to share your thoughts. A most illuminating exchange, I must say. You've actually hit the proverbial nail on the head, identifying how and why I paint AND how I have found painting to be one of the great expressive art forms. I rarely attempt to produce a picture as per the photo, leaving that genre to the photorealists and hyperrealists. They are true masters of their craft/art but it's not for me, although I do admire their skill and techniques. For me the big difference between photographic painting and realistic expressionism is that one shows what's there, whilst the other shows how the artist sees and feels the scene, how part of them reaches the canvas.

The impressionists are a good example of this, with Monet, Manet, Renoir, Gaugin etc etc being right at the top of that genre. It is an art movement I've admired all my life, at least as soon as I became aware of them, and I can completely understand your desire to paint in that style. Interestingly, it was Manet who bridged the gap between realism and impressionism, unintentionally influencing many of the younger impressionists of that era. I believe that impressionism has been, and still is, one of the greatest influences in modern art, even to this very day. Have you ever tried painting? You should, you know, because you clearly have an eye for movement and representationalism AND an almost natural connection to the landscape. I can identify with that, although probably from a different perspective. It's never too late.

I was walking along the clifftops, at Marsden Bay, one day with my brother, when I started to describe the scene before us. He said, with a smile on his face, "You see this place through rose-tinted spectacles". I replied "No, I just see it differently". I once said, rather carelessly and vainly, "if you want to know who I am, look at my art and read my poetry". It's not quite true but it's not so far off either.

So I do take a scene and make more of it, develop it to show my feelings and how they are affected, something that the relatively muted photo can't quite achieve, and maybe one day I'll find myself emulating the impressionists, especially with their innovative use of colour and adventurous palette. That would be a fine progression indeed.

I've made further revisions (I knew I would) and feel this painting is now finished. I bought a frame for it yesterday and I'm going to keep this one for ME! :)

I'll post it with this reply, if I can. Thanks again.

Best

JJ

PS

I've also placed this image at the top of the thread to make it easier to compare.

J
Marsden Rock revised 04 08 2019 001 (800 pix).jpg
Marsden Rock revised 04 08 2019 001 (800 pix).jpg (230.44 KiB) Viewed 2016 times
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Re: Marsden Rock from the clifftop

Post by Macavity » Sun Aug 04, 2019 5:56 am

Splendid JJ. Really like how you've worked your angles on this one.

One of the more insightful documentaries on Impressionism:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08f1bw0/art-of-france-series-1-3-this-is-the-modern-world

best

mac

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Re: Marsden Rock from the clifftop

Post by JJWilliamson » Sun Aug 04, 2019 7:52 am

Thanks, mac, for the splendid reply and link. Delighted you liked this one.

I watched the link from start to finish and enjoyed it very much. I've said it before but it's worth reiterating that art movements come and go,
yet impressionism has lingered and lingered, showing no signs of fading in popularity.

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Re: Marsden Rock from the clifftop

Post by Perry » Tue Aug 06, 2019 5:58 am

If it seems that I phased out of the discussion, I apologize. I was sick all day Monday, and Tuesday I'll be busy with something else.

I noticed that you have changed the water to the right of the rock. I think it looks much better now.

I took an art class once but had to stop almost immediately because I found it so frustrating. Writing is easier for me because words are like mosaic pieces which I can just fit together. Devising an artwork entirely from scratch would be too difficult for me. If I got into painting, my paintings would be very primitive. However, I've seen 100 paintings in my life that I wished I had the money to buy.

I'm glad you are happy with the changes. It looks better now.
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

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Re: Marsden Rock from the clifftop

Post by JJWilliamson » Tue Aug 06, 2019 8:13 am

Thanks, Perry

Sorry to read you've been a bit off colour lately. I know how that feels so I hope you're on the mend.

Yes, I'm very pleased with the changes and final outcome, mainly brought about by your suggestions. A well aimed critique
works wonders and your analysis was spot on. I'm tempted to return to the rock to make one or two minor adjustments,
even though I know it's probably finished. An art friend of mine once said that a painting is never finished, so if you want
to know when to stop just ask yourself if the changes/additions would be noticeable, and would they really improve
the painting. If the answer is 'no' then stop, you're done. I'm at that stage.

Best

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Re: Marsden Rock from the clifftop

Post by Perry » Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:40 pm

Along similar lines, I think that Ezra Pound said that he never completed a poem, he just abandoned them.

I think that my advice amounted to "Make it look more like the picture", so I'm not sure it was the best advice, but I'm glad you were satisfied with it.
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

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Re: Marsden Rock from the clifftop

Post by JJWilliamson » Thu Aug 08, 2019 8:19 am

Perry wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:40 pm
I think that my advice amounted to "Make it look more like the picture", so I'm not sure it was the best advice, but I'm glad you were satisfied with it.
I was indeed satisfied, Perry. The exchange was very helpful because it encouraged me to focus on certain aspects of the painting, especially the far right-hand side, the section of sea that I had originally thought complete. The result upped the ante on the realism whilst maintaining elements of development. I think it's a better painting for the changes, and for that I thank you.

Best

JJ
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