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Winter on the River Neva by Kathleen

Submit an Entry: Painting Project Geometric Abstracts

By 2955kathleen

Winter on the River Neva by Kathleen

Winter on the River Neva (First Version)

Winter on the River Neva by Kathleen

Painting with the column at the left-hand side darkened and another ice floe entering at the left. (Amendments done after reading Marion's comments.)

Title and Medium

Winter on the River Neva. Oil paints on canvas, bit of charcoal and pencil. Size: 30 x 60 cm

Artist's Statement

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.

My Website/Blog


Marion Boddy-Evans, About.com Painting, 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.

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