Critique – Ralph Oliva

Ralph Oliva
Ralph Oliva

Student’s Comments:

What I like:

  • The exaggerated use of the rock’s colors as a means of picking up the colors in the sky, as well as directing the viewers’ eye. There is some yet, not overwhelming detail. I titled this work: “Big Bend, Texas”.

What could be improved:

  • A small bit more detail to the rocks in the foreground and perhaps, less space rendered to it. (However, I did not desire to use this area as a focal point).

Dan’s Comments:

What I like:

Stunning painting!

  • Love the style of your work. It reminds me of Margaret Olley’s style, with the rich colors and pronounced shapes. 
  • The colors work well. Rich but not out of place. It’s not easy to use so much color without it appearing garish. I particularly like the yellow in the foreground. 
  • There’s a strong sense of depth with the rolling mountains, the shadowed valley, and the bright sky. The change in color temperature conveys this well. 
  • The like how you used dark outlining around the middle. These lines are small but powerful.

What could be improved:

  • The sky seems like it could be more of a feature, but it’s half cropped out of the painting. Perhaps it would be better to move the composition around to the right-hand side to include more of the sky and its brilliant colors. 
  • The colors down at the bottom of the valley appear a bit off. Something about it doesn’t read clearly for me. I think there is too much contrast and the black is too strong. Refer to your reference to confirm. 
  • The detailing of the tree in the corner seems a bit overdone in the context of the painting. It’s not a strong feature, but it’s rendered carefully. Simplify. Think big, simple color shapes. 
  • You could use rough, broken color or a few broad strokes in the foreground to help lead into the painting without drawing attention away from the focal point. The bottom-left corner feels a bit flat and neat. I would rough it up a bit. 

For inspiration, check out Erin Hanson and Edgar Payne.