Painting Advice about Your Paintings

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Free Advice on Your Painting

Free Painting Advice

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Painting Advice here

Get free personal painting advice.
Here you may ask questions or post an image of your work
If you are teaching yourself to paint and need an assessment of how you are going then post an image of your work in the comments section below with a brief note saying the size of the painting, the medium used and the type of canvas.
A very large image is not required and you may use a ‘nick name’.
By seeing the altered image and comments below you can see how the information is conveyed about the possible improvements for you to consider.
The changes to the image are rough but are there as a reference only.
Your paintings will be checked for colors, tones of colors, arrangement, perspective and techniques. Suggestions may also be able the type of material and paint used in the painting and the type of brush or knife used to paint the picture.
So to have this free assessment of your painting you need to take a photograph straight on of the painting and place the image with your comment at the bottom of this page, the image can be any size and a common format but do try not to post huge images as they will greatly slow the loading of the webpage Cheers

24 Comments

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  1. Hi Len,

    As always, I am blown away by your information and suggestions. I have decided to paint my two wooden garages with a mural of a lake scene to practice being more lose with my painting style. That sounded like fun when you mentioned it in your tips.

    I used your lesson on painting mountains for the painting I am attaching and would like your honest critique of the painting. I did this painting in 2014 and have to admit, I did not do much in the way of practice painting before I jumped into this one. I was so excited to try the painting, I could not wait to get the paint on the brush.

    I thank you sincerely for all you do to help those who love art and painting. We are a dying group now with so much electronic picture taking and less creativity encouraged. You are a light in the dark for the art world and I am proud to be one of your many students.

    I look forward to your critique.

    Thanks,
    Linda

    1. The picture did not attach so I am replying to my own post to see if I can get it to attach.

      1. Hi Linda – very well done and you should be proud.
        Everything here is okay but you have given a view as if looking down at the water which can be ok but I prefer a lower horizon line in all paintings – Below is your painting with the lower horizon line. You can see more about horizon line here. http://paintwithlen.com/painting-mistakes/horizon-line-painting/
        Thanks for showing.

  2. Hi Len,
    Thank you so much for your helpful tutorials and advice. I’ve been working on this large painting based off of a reference image, but have struggled to capture the mountains/houses and overall brightness of the picture. I love how you use use brushstrokes and colors in your paintings– would you be able to offer some advice and feedback on how I can improve?
    Thanks and Happy New Year!
    Alice

    Version 2

    1. Hi Alice – I think you are doing fine.
      In your rocks and nearer background you have a base color which is the dark – this color should be mixed from the same colors so then the darks in your painting show the color of that day – it is always a grey and is tinted with blue in the background and usually has a little more red in it in the foreground and it is pale in the background and dark in the foreground. (in brief, mix 8 cool blue plus 3 crimson plus 1 raw sienna and use it as the dark in everything in the painting – everything)- your buildings have no darks.
      Don’t let any of the background be very dark (that dark blue is too dark for that distance).
      In the bottom left corner you have great rocks but they are attracting the eye away from the middle of the painting – better to have these few rocks in the corner dull and not so attractive.
      Briefly – pale down the dark blue in the background – add more contrast with shadows in the buildings – take the bright glow off the big white rock and the one in the very corner. Cheers

  3. Hi Len,

    This is my first attempt at the first painting from your speed painting dvd no.1. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
    Painted with dodgey old black and white student acrylic paint on 300mm x 400mm Aquademic drawing pad paper with medium surface and heavy weight.

    Thank you.

    Sue

    PS. I borrowed your DVD from Katoomba library and loved it so much I’ve just bought the set online. Can’t wait for them to arrive !

    image

    1. hi Sue – you have painted the picture according to the instructions on the video, excellent.
      Now you should paint lots of small pictures, about 6×9 or 9×12 inches, and become very good at the brush techniques while experimenting with different arrangements.
      Don’t worry to much about mistakes at this stage, mistakes are useful for learning what not to do. Don’t keep fixing mistakes, it is not worth the time, just paint another little picture.
      Your painting is very good.
      I’ll list the things that you should try for. Keep the whitest bit of sky in the middle behind the mountains – try painting mountains with just a few long deliberate brushstrokes, too many brushstrokes brings the mountains forward (I know that your old paint might not flow well).
      Try for a little different shape in the mountains rather than round.
      The background trees should not have too many very dark spots.
      Arrangement, not good to put a tree so close to the center of the painting, better to open up the middle more by having the trees closer to the edge.
      Try for a flat white line under the background trees and concentrate on the white in the middle of the painting to attract the eye to the middle.
      The comments I have made are not mistakes in your work they are things to aim for while you are learning.
      I’ll make some changes to the image and post it here.
      Keep showing your work here and asking questions if you wish.
      Your dvds are packaged and I’ll email you when the parcel is in the post later today.
      Thanks Sue

      Sueno1

      1. Thank you so much for your comments Len. It’s was great to here from you so quickly and am stoked the DVDs will be on there way so soon. I had to return the library copy because I had it out so long! And will buy some new paint because you’re right, the old stuff has certainly lost its flow. Had to mix it with a bit of water to stop it drying out so quickly.

        Tried posting another picture for feedback but it didn’t come up. Will try again another time.

        Thanks again…you ‘re so onto it!

  4. Hi Len

    I have been practicing the monochrome but decided to finish this oil. It’s on canvass 90 x 60cm. I know it’s very busy and not good composition but was concentrating on practicing brush work with some palette knife. I know I need to tone down the top right hand corner. I haven’t used black it’s a mixture of burnt sienna ultramarine and a touch of al Crimson . I’m having problems with the water, the fall in particular plus the rocks and willow tree. Any advice would be appreciated. Be as blunt as you like I appreciate you critique.

    image-1

    1. Hi Karyn, thanks for the message.
      I find it hard to comment because you are painting in abstract and I teach how to paint as you see things in nature.
      If I were to comment on your painting as a painting of a natural landscape then I would have to say the sky is never like you have. The perspective is wrong and the arrangement is wrong and the tones of colors is wrong.
      But it’s not a painting of a natural landscape and for all I know it might be a copy of a famous old master.
      It is interesting and catches the eye. The colors are well separated and not muddy. The arrangement is set out so the eye is not attracted away from the painting.
      I’m sorry that I am unable to advise you further.
      If you wish to paint more traditional style and similar to what I teach, I’m sure I could be of more help.
      Cheers

      1. Hi Len

        Thanks for your reply.
        Yes it is an interpretation of an old master 🙂 he is not hard to pick.
        I’ll do so more work and paint some in a more traditional style.
        More rain here, ground is sodden.
        I checked out your daughter’s website and enjoyed her paintings. Very creative.
        Hope all is well with you and your wife. I’ve been to Thailand it’s a beautiful country.
        Karyn

  5. Kayrn’s paintings

    pwl3

  6. Hi Len
    I’ve had a few goes at the first lesson. I had to practice quite a bit and experiment with the consistency of paint so that I could get the fan brush to produce the grass. Also trying to get the size of brush to hold enough paint to do the trees. I ended up using acrylic for this painting as oils are more expensive.
    Kind regards
    Karyn

    1. Hi Karyn – you need to use more paint in the skys – or don’t thin the paint – put lots of paint at the bottom and make grass with a dry fan brush, small grass in the distance and big grass at your feet.
      Don’t try for perfect branches, later you will learn to cover the bad bits with foliage and then the branch looks perfect.
      Paint all branches with just the dark color for now and learn the techniques don’t try for good paintings – you have the right ideas about dark to light and arrangements and perspective so paint lots of little pictures without worrying about how good they are but do worry about how good your brush skills are becoming. After learning the brush skills you can paint anything your mind can see and then you will concentrate on arrangements and tones of colors and perspective – well done – cheers

      1. Hi Len
        Thankyou once again for advice and encouragement.
        Your online streams are not only good teaching but entertaining, particularly when the mobile rings or you get visitors. Lol
        I’ll be practicing with the brushes heaps tomorrow – Sunday.
        Snowing next week in the central west nsw where I’m from, send some of the warmth back to Aussie plz.❄️❄️❄️❄️
        Kind regards

        1. My family are from Dunedoo – my daughter lives at Dubbo – http://susanhend.com

  7. Hi Len
    I have just discovered your website and I’m so enjoying all the help you have provided. I’m a beginner and learning from the web and books. I would value your feedback. This is a painting done with palette knife and oils on a canvas board, A3 size.
    Kind regards
    Karyn

    image

    1. Hi Karyn – you have done extremely well to have all your colors separated and not muddy – as you seem to realize it is most important to wipe the painting knife every time before picking up paint or adjusting the painting.
      With most paintings it is not good to have the horizon line across the middle of the painting and about 1/3 up often gives a lot more depth to a painting.
      Because of all the knife strokes showing as they do, your painting is quite busy which makes it less relaxing to look at but if hung in the right place it will provide warmth and energy.
      You have keep the corners dark and uninteresting and the center catches the eye, good, the simplicity of the arrangement is effective.
      Be careful if you use black in your paintings, it can take the life out of the scene.
      Thanks Karyn

      1. Hi Len
        Appreciate your prompt and constructive feedback.
        I’m going to start on your lessons tonight. I’ve got the painting bug badly. Wish I had started years ago.
        I like the palette knife but will use brushes as per your lessons.
        Looking forward to beginning
        Kind regards
        Karyn

  8. Hi,

    I’m just a beginner and I still have a lot to learn but could you please give us some advice on how to paint faces? I dont mean to paint realistic portraits but I think I really need to try painting faces before I do it in my own style.

    Thanks a lot!

    mary

    1. Mary I am not good at painting faces but if I was wanting to paint them I would learn to paint a normal face with the exact same shapes ever time and when I could do that then I would look at all other faces as a variation of my perfect example. This way you have a formula to work with – best of luck

      1. Thanks a lot for your prompt response!!

        Mary

  9. Hi Toni – you have done very well with this rather advanced painting – your arrangement, brushstrokes and perspective are in order – reflections of trees are missing.
    There is a couple of things that you should do – study tones of colors http://paintwithlen.com/about-painting/tones-and-colors/ plus this video https://youtu.be/91DHIKGaU-A
    When painting foreground foliage on the trees you need to use a grey which is mixed from the colors on the palette and is shown how in most of my colored video lessons.
    I will roughly change the image and show how the tones can create depth, step back and compare the difference
    By having a lower horizon on your paintings they will have more depth.
    Some red in the foreground brings it forward
    Well done and thanks for showing.

    20160429_203637-102

  10. Dear Len,
    I am very new to this “daubing stuff on paper/canvas” business and have included my very first landscape attempt, I think made possible as you are such a great teacher.
    I do realise there are many errors in my work (the more I look at it the more I see) but am still thrilled that it does have some semblance of our Aussie bush.
    I just want to thank you for making it possible and inspiring me to continue “daubing”!

    20160429_203637

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