Title and Medium
Winter on the River Neva. Oil paints on canvas, bit of charcoal and pencil. Size: 30 x 60 cm
I tried to recapture a visit I made to Russia a few years ago, in winter. There was a mixture of old religious buildings, new European-type structures, the statue of Peter the Great on the river bank and the strange columns on the quayside. I've tried to represent some of these in a geometric way but maybe it's a bit too 'real'?
I chose the oblong shape of the canvas so I could paint the river's length and I used plastic geometric shapes bought in a shop. The left side of the painting is supposed to look a bit spooky as Peter the Great was brilliant but scary. The right side is the old Russia. In the centre is revolutionary Russia.
I enjoyed painting it very much as I relived my holiday!
What I'd Do Differently
- Maybe the column on the left is a bit blurry rather than hard-edged.
- Are the tower and flags a bit too much in the centre perhaps?
- I left it feeling it could be improved, but not quite sure how and I didn't want to overdo it.
- I quite like the ice floes on the river.
Marion Boddy-Evans, Painting Guide, says:
I don't see the shapes as anything "real" and think you're seeing more there because you know the inspiration behind the composition. For me it's a strong geometric abstract, with a composition that leads my eye around through the shapes and colors, pulls me in for a closer look. There's a feeling of the elements telling a story, and engaging my imagination as I ponder what it might be, guided by the words "winter" and "River Neva".
I'd give the shape on the left a bit more color and/or darker tone. It blends into the background a bit much at the moment, leaving my eye free to wander off that edge of the painting. I would also put another ice floe triangle below it, perhaps two, as the space feels too empty, as if something were missing.
Edited to Add: I've added the photo of your amended painting to this page. I think the tweaks have strengthened the composition, making the left-hand side have more visual impact as well as leading the eye into the painting.