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Paint like John Singer Sargent - Student Critiques

August 17, 2023
By Richard Robinson
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Critiques of student work by Richard Robinson from JOHN SINGER SARGENT - Revealing the Master's Secrets. Enjoy!


Boat with a Golden Sail, San Vigilio "A Boat with a Golden Sail" 15 x 15" Oil on Canvas by Richard Robinson, after John Singer Sargent.



Student Critiques


Artist: Elmari Van Zyl

Great work Elmari! Very accurate colour and drawing, rich brushwork and interesting textural variety. Lovely. Would just like to see a little more care in the foreground rocks. Consider the direction of the light and how that will shape the jetty as a whole and also each block. Be clear about the line at which the rocks enter the water. That could be achieved with a blue-green glaze at this point. Again, beautiful work.



Artist: Jorge Zamora

Hi Jorge, good on you for entering a different painting using similar ideas. Nicely done too. Interesting variety of texture and brushwork. You've made a good sense of light and shadow across the scene. The foliage has been nicely developed with multiple layers and you've captured that sense of dappled light. Personally I'd like to see the central main sunlit tree reflected a little more strongly in the water to add more exciting colour there, and I'd consider using blue greys in the distance on the left to indicate another layer of depth there into the far distance.
Great job.


Artist: Martha Waardenburg

Good effort Martha, I can see you've paid particular attention to the drawing and brushwork. Just three things I'd look at changing: The black boat need to extend further left to be the right size for that big sail. The foreground rock wall is making a pattern of shapes that are too similar. Similarly, the four trees behind the building are shaped and placed in a pattern, as are the four windows. In short, avoid making patterns because they are less interesting than off-beat rhythms.


Artist: Martin Soja

Some great work in here Martin. I love how you've taken care with the modelling of the foreground wall and the drawing overall is very good. I'd like to see you take another shot at the reflections of the yellow sail in the water. Don't be afraid to scrape off and try again to you're fully happy with it. The hull of the white boat should be slightly deeper and bring the reflection of the sail there a little closer to the boat too.


Artist: Dan Troest Birkemose

Wow that's beautifully done! Look at that lively brushwork! Makes we want to get my paints out. Gorgeous.

Artist: Scott Dyer

Nice work Scott, vibrant colours contrast nicely against all the dark water, though I would like to see a little more colour and light in the reflections. Foreground rocks are well modelled. I'd like to see as much care give to the angles of the windows and walls on the left as they're a bit wonky at the moment. Check it out in a mirror and you'll see it anew.


Boat with a golden sail by Jochina van Kruistum

Beautiful work, Jochina! The drawing is solid, the colours accurate, brushwork is lyrical and there's a variety of texture, all making for a really nice painting. I can't see much at all to improve on. Good job!

Learn to paint like John Singer Sargent

Join New Zealand artist Richard Robinson in exploring step by step the painting techniques and processes of one of the greatest painters the world has ever known – John Singer Sargent. Enjoy!

Learn About

  • Sargent’s materials and techniques
  • Drawing and composition
  • Creating subtle light effects
  • In-depth colour mixing
  • and LOTS more!