Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Student Painting Critique

Hi, Students!
To encourage you to keep painting between classes, feel free to use this forum for help and suggestions. Simply email a photo of your work in progress along with your questions.  Let me know whether you prefer that I use your full name, first name, or just initials.  Feel free to comment on my comments!

If you aren't one of my students, I'm still happy to give you ideas as time allows, to help everyone to learn.


Dear Valorie,
I am working on this painting which finally makes me happy.  Any Suggestions?  I followed the old masters technique, re reading your notes and trying to apply them, instead of thinking I was applying them.  "D"

Your painting is looking good! The light on the buildings has a pleasing atmospheric quality, and the composition works well. The distant mountains recede back from the ones in front.  My eye moves from the building in front, up the road to the back buildings, then to the mountains.  Nice!  I also like your orange and blue complementary color scheme.  This painting has a lovely feel to it.

My suggestion would be to vary the background peaks.  They feel a bit too pointy and pretty similar to each other.  You could also change the angle of that background range.  If they really look that way, see if you can give them more variety in shape and size.  You might also gray down the blue in that range a bit to make it recede even more. Do the same for the sky - just tone it down a bit, and lighten it as it gets closer to the horizon.

The angle of the cloud shape behind the mountains resembles the angle of those mountains.  Can you break the cloud up and perhaps make it more horizontal?  Right now it looks like 3 almost parallel shapes - the clouds, background mountains and the right foreground mountains.  


You have some pretty intense blue right behind that front roof (I know you're not finished yet). You can keep it dark, just tone down the intensity to push it back. Lastly, don't forget to choose your focal point and give it more definition.

This may seem like a lot, but these are simple changes. You've done the hard part.  Let me know how it goes! Thank you for sharing your work!  Valorie

Friday, July 25, 2014

National Juried Fine Art Show, Louisville, CO

I'm honored to have my painting chosen from 560 entries for the

29th Annual National Juried Fine Art Show
 Louisville Center for the Arts
801 Grant Ave, Louisville, CO 80027
Sat. Aug 30 - Sun Sept 7, 2014 (closes at 4:00 pm Sun)
Opening Reception Sat. Aug 30, 6-9 pm.
Cheese & Wine Reception - Fri, Sept. 5, 4-8 pm
Various events during the week.
Presented by the Louisville Art Association

Please join me at the opening reception or visit the show!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Student Winner!


Congratulations to Mary Jo Wickstrom, who won an award in the Arapahoe Community College, Community Education Student Art Show!

Her butterfly picture, "Beauty in my Garden," won 3rd place in the painting category.

Mary Jo is a student in my Beginning/Intermediate Oil Painting Class.  Great job, Mary Jo!   

Monday, June 16, 2014

Oil Painting Safety

Found this link today on the ACC Community Education Facebook page.  It concerns toxic oil painting materials and protecting yourself.
http://www.botanicalamy.com/2014/06/13/chemical-safety-oil-painting/

Safety Tips:
Oil paints can contain toxic minerals such as lead and cadmium which can build up in your body over time.  Protect yourself:
1.  Never eat or drink while painting
2.  Never put brushes in your mouth.
3.  Use a barrier cream to protect your hands if you don't like vinyl gloves.  I use Gloves in a Bottle.  The writer in the above link recommends Art Guard Barrier Cream.
4.  Always ventilate your studio well.
5.  I use odorless Turpenoid Natural (in the green can) to clean brushes.  It's non toxic and non flammable.  Other odorless turps still contain mineral spirits (dangerous to breathe).  Check the label.

By the way, another scientist friend tells me that tattoo pigments can contain the same toxic minerals.  Would you put those under your skin?

Saturday, May 3, 2014

First Place Award

"Snow Day" 20 x 30 oils  ©Valorie Snyder 
Thank you to the Center For the Arts in Evergreen for the First Place Award for my painting, "Snow Day."  This is their Tenth Anniversary Show and will be up through the end of May.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Lost in the Music

"Lost in the Music"
6 x 6  © Valorie Snyder
I have wanted to capture this musician in paint ever since I photographed him downtown one day.  I was drawn to the diagonal lines created by his pose, the perspective of the building and the angle of his trumpet.  It was necessary to simplify the busy reflections in the windows.  

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Girl and Her Horse- Best Friends

"Best Friends" © Valorie Snyder

New Series -  Small Figurative Paintings in Oils

What little girl doesn't love horses?  This is to honor all of those special friendships.  5 x 7, oils.