Mood and Light with John Crump - Student Critiques

January 6, 2021
By John Crump
Mood and Light with John Crump - Student Critiques logo

4 Student paintings critiqued by the esteemed John Crump. Enjoy.

 Taupo Bay, New Zealand


Taupo Bay by John Crump

Taupo Bay by John Crump

Before I start on the individual comments, I would just like to say how impressed I am with the standard of all of these paintings. The colour and tonal values are excellent.  Apart from one or two minor points, they are all conveying the feelings of the coast in early morning light. My efforts to offer a critique feel a little wasted – they are all so good!
Taupo Bay – Eric Hillmer
This one of yours Eric has a great feeling for the ruggedness of the coastline in the harsh glare of the low sun. Three small points catch my eye. The waterline against the distant cliff is considerably higher than the height against the closer cliff. Slightly disconcerting as it implies that the water is at two different levels. 
You may notice too that the closer cliff is a bluish grey whereas the more distant cliff is much more inclined towards deep purple. As you may be aware, more distant objects become more blue. Closer objects are warmer and therefore have more red in their colouring.The change from warmer to cooler is what helps to give a sense of distance in our painting.
Lastly, your scattering of stones in the foreground are a bit too eye-catching.  Better to keep them to a minimum so that the eye travels back through the painting more easily.
Having said all that, I think this is a great effort with a lovely atmosphere. Well done!


Beach and rocks - Elena Sokolova

Well – another excellent effort!

Beautiful colour and excellent tonal work. Possibly my only criticism would be the edge of the closer bluff is striking the dark rock in the middle distance exactly on it’s point – possibly an oversight that anyone could miss! A small twinkle of light somewhere in the breaking surf would be a help to give a little more excitement and sense of movement to the surf too.

A very nice piece of work Elena.
Light on Taupo Bay – Sharon Repple.

 Yours too is a great effort Sharon.

I think you've shown great courage in attempting to show the sun and it's light rays coming from behind the hill. I say that because achieving the effect you want is very difficult with acrylics, Their quick drying works against you. Unfortunately, I feel that the rays of light are actually a problem as they do not look as convincing as the rest of the painting.

Apart from that, the painting is very good but I would rather see you trying the same painting in oils as it will give you more time to achieve the effects you want. It will also help you to create soft edges – along the edges of the stream in the foreground for example.

Overall, I very nice painting.


Taupo Bay- Nancy Newton

A great effort Nancy. You have captured the mood of the day very well – early light with a good deal sea haze in the air.

There are two things that I would have done a little differently Nancy – your see salt in the air against the cliffs has had edges at the tops. To look like haze, It needed a very soft age at the top. In the sea, you have virtually no hard edges. It's needed a few to define the top edges of waves and splashes.

Otherwise, I very good effort.




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Sherry Hanan 23/02/2021 Your critiques are great - and I would think your suggestions will improve these paintings a lot.......very nice. Sherry