After four years of art school, I am very used to technical critiques of my work. Perspective, values, edges, colors, and ultimately those are all critiques that prepare us to produce work that is worth the time it takes to give a painting a true critique. By that I mean that I am not learning how to paint so that I can make pretty pictures. I want to use painting as a means of communication. Value, color, edges, rendering, perspective, etc are all the basics of communication - as verbs, nouns, adjectives, punctuation, etc are the basics of communication in linguistics. As anyone who has studied a language understands, these things barely allow a person to ask where the bathroom is. It takes a great deal of developing these skills before any true communication can come about. The same is true in the world of illustration.
As artists, we are striving to have a conversation through images. The viewer asks "what is going on?" Ideally the piece says a bit. The one above says "I'm a kitchen." Inherently we look for other cues that can tell us about what we are looking at. Unfortunately, no matter how many questions can be answered by a painting like this, it is ultimately a conversation without a point. Since it is just a kitchen, there is no reason to care about it.
After a mess of grammatical changes, I decided to place a character in the scene. Now there is a new level of conversation. We still understand that it is a kitchen, but there is now a kid standing ridged with something in his hand. If we can see that he is holding a pair of scissors, the next question is why. Without further corrections, there is no way that the viewer can answer that question. I will update this when I have corrections to this particular story.
Each of the following pairs of paintings is another story I am trying to tell.
These were all quick sketches to help me determine exactly what story I wanted to tell. I ultimately settled on the following story.
Unfotunately, this particular assignment is to tell a story about a tree fort--not about the kids who built it. So, Instead of making corrections to these two paintings, I have started new paintings that better fit the assignment. It's all the maddening and fascinating process of learning a new language. Some days I feel like I can put a sentence or even a small dialogue together, but most of the time, I still feel like I am waving my arms, pointing, and drawing stick figures in the dirt.