Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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04/26/2004: "Feedback Desperately Needed for Works in Progress"

Well, after being sick for a spell, I'm back to my old self and back to work on the pieces for my next show. This morning I took some quick snap shots of several of my paintings that are still in progress. I've put them in a Works In Progress Gallery. I would love any feedback through comments or email or guestbook, whatever, on any aspect of the works. Things that are working, are not working, etc. These pieces ARE NOT FINISHED so I will not take offense at your honest opinions. Like for example, I know the kneck on the guy in "Consolation" is too veiny and I plan to fix that. Also, because my camera is crap, some of the colors do not look exactly like the real pieces, (also colors will be affected by your monitors and lots of other factors I can't control) so if you'd like to make a comment on the color, just describe how you see the color and what you like or what you'd change, etc. Also, I'm taking on vote to see which one of these new one is your favorite. (in fact, I'd LOVE LOVE LOVE it if you would rank them in order of the one you like the most to the one you like the least, I put numbers next to the title to make it easier).

Muchas gracias.
PS if you have work you'd like some feedback on I'd be more than happy to return the favor, just leave a link to your site or email me the images and I'll really take the time to look at them with a fresh set of eyes (although a little bloodshot for not getting much sleep).

Replies: 12 Comments

on Tuesday, April 27th, Dio said

As you have asked, hopefully I won't offend. All comments are taken from my own raft of personal prejudices and likes.

Of the nudes, 1 and 2 are the ones I like best. I really like the stylisation in the two pieces. Number 1 reminds me of De Chirico, with the omninous background building. There is an air of mystery and the colours work well.

No 2. is strong and the flowers work really well, she is almost like a mythical fairy Venus, rising from a sea of blooms. The colours are more punchy - I feel I would liek to see some more neutral colours as well, to make the brighter colours really sing-out.

4 and 5 are my least favourite pieces. Number 5 feels very flat, despite the dynamic compostition. 4 looks like it is only at the underpainted stage, but the background seems vague and unengaging, as though it hasn't fully developed yet.

Oh yes, and 7,8 and 9 are all strong, and the ones I like best. 8 in particular, sings. The complimentary colours and theatrical lighting make it a punchy little winner.

Hope that's of some help. I've not really gone into technical details or anything as I don't think that's my place. :)

on Tuesday, April 27th,">Elise said

Thank you SO MUCH for all the great comments. I appreciate it so much. As for number 5 feeling flat, do you have any suggestions on how to make it seem less flat? I've really been struggling with that piece for just the reason you mentioned. (the photograph I used for the fireweed is on the Life In Alaska page, I'm considering adding more light to the center of the piece?)

Another thing, 7 & 8 are not that similar in style or content, as the other paintings. As I mentioned earlier about consistency in work and being able to try new things, do you think displaying work that seems dissimilar in the same show is a good idea?

I also have some really dissimilar paintings that I plan to also display, of those tidal plains in my photo gallery (three paintings). So, the question becomes, which image should I use for the announcements? Which for the flyers?

Anyway, thanks again for very good suggestions.

on Tuesday, April 27th,">Stacy said

Elise, I think your style is wonderful. I, myself, love figurative art on top of abstract expression as well as classical art.

If I were to rank your paintings they would be as follows: 6,2,5,8,7,4,1,3,9 (not in strict order but more or less).

It's interesting how you've kept to an Alaskan theme (except 7,8). Are these all for your upcoming show? (I'm not sure if you've mentioned anywhere what your show is going to be centered around, but I'll check.)

In the first painting, I'm not sure if the Sandy Beach scene is really working for me. I can't seem to picture a nude there (because I recognize the location).

2 and 6 are working very nicely as finished pieces. Are both these finished?

The lady in Devil's Club (5) has a curve where the right buttocks should not protrude. Anatomically, this doesn't look correct to me, in which the rest of her body is more realistic. Figuratively, it looks as if her leg is coming from the ground which makes an interesting statement.

Are 3 and 9 not finished? The woman in Grounded looks as if you haven't developed the entire overpainting yet (blue underpainting showing through?).

I agree with Dio, 8 is very strong. These are just very general observations I've made which you may or may not already be aware of.

Can't wait to see more works, and I've enjoyed reading and keeping up with your blog!


on Tuesday, April 27th,">Elise said

Hi Stacy,
Are you here in Juneau or are you my artist friend Stacy who moved away a couple of years ago? (If so, HOW YA DOING???) Either way, thanks a lot for the comments...You were pretty much on the money. I've tried to not say too much about them because I'd like to know what people see without being influenced by what I say about them. But you were right about the one's that are still at the underpainting level, particularly #9 the orange paint has stayed wet for WEEKS now and is making me crazy.

Of the ones I've posted I've spent the most time on 6 and 2. You are also right that 7 & 8 were paintings I wanted to do because I did all those cillian murphy drawings and I wanted to paint a couple of the drawings I did because I liked the way they turned out. They are different than the others and I'm still trying to decide if I should include them in the show or not.

The show is at the new Loft gallery, which is part of the Friendly Planet Trading Co. downtown which moved to a larger building (renovated the building Rainbow foods used to be in). It's a great space, the owner is very cool, wants to create a place for local artists to show who aren't doing typical Alaskan stuff. He also hosts things on the weekend like poetry readings and live music.

As for the "theme" of the show, I didn't really have one, Just interested in composition, colors, the human figure, and as you can probably tell, I'm becoming more and more influenced by my surroundings, particularly the plant life. I could come up with some intellectual sounding statement about human connection to the environment etc. but really I'd just be BSing.

Anyway, thanks again for the remarks. I'm going to post all the scores I get (without names) just because it's so interesting to see how everyone's asthetics are so completely different. It really brings home the point that with art, you'll never please everybody so you sure as hell better please yourself!
nighty night.

on Wednesday, April 28th, Dio said

As for unflattening 5 - it seems to my eye partly a tonal issue. There isn't much to differentiate the tones in the figure from the background - it could be the photograph though. A squinty look doesn't throw up much contrast.

Most of the lighter tones are within the figure as islands - a lighting shift to add the highlights to the edge of the figure could help bring it into relief.

I like the 9 as it is - the strong tonal range and the colours zing. The composition is lovely also - very mysterious. I also like the cropped figures more than the isolated ones - but that comes from a photographic preference.

As for your flyer - is it feasible to send out 3 different versions? You are more likely to catch different sections of a potential audience with each. Failing that, do a strip from each style of painting.

on Wednesday, April 28th,">Elise said

aha! you're right. I'll see what I can do to fix that although I'm not sure where to do the tonal change, darken the background? Lighten the background darken the figure? more contrast in the leaves? I'll figure it out. Thanks though,
PS, I love the way you spell "colour".

on Monday, May 31st, Don Cochran said

Hello Elise I looked at your web site today. I love your work highever we are on the opposite ends of the spectrum in more ways than one I live in Georgia my work has a folk art look. I knew nothing a bout computers till last year. It has taken me a lot of time to learn how to create a web site I would love to visit Alaska someday. you really are a good artist because we are on the opposite ends of the spectrum , were close to one another back-to-back. So I'd like to turn around and say hello and wish you much success from a fellow artist Don Cochran.

on Monday, May 31st,">Elise said

Thanks Don,
I checked out your website and I like your work. Folk art has always been very interesting to me. I passed on your website to a fellow artist who does very different work from you but also does som low relief work.

Howard Penning.

You might want to check it out...anyway, learning the computer stuff can be a challenge, just stick with it, you'll pick up a little more and a little more until before you know it you'll be an old hand at it.

Anyway, thanks for your comments, stop by again from time to time, let us know when you have new work to see etc.


on Thursday, June 10th, centur said

my fav is Fireweed ...its poetic ...I just had a qick gander will look longer later ... Consolation reveals the act ...I can feel the hug the little boy is receiving and the icecream is a wonderful touch ..obtw ...bbiab = be back in a bit :) altho I have been away from 26 a bit longer than that ..tehe :) good luck Elise ..thanks for the thots

on Tuesday, June 29th, Emily said

Elise--Fantastic! I LOVE the new direction your work is going.

My 2 favourites are 3 and 6.

The "Sandy Beach" is interesting, as it seems to be moving into surrealism and emotion as it moves away from propoportionalism (is that a word?).

I love the "Devil's Club" painting for its fluidity--this painting gives me chills as it seems to express exactly the way I want to fit myself into this landscape.

Thanks for sharing these online. Wish I could be there for opening night! I'll be there in spirit.

Em :)

on Monday, July 19th, Natalie said

My first impression of #8 reminded me of stain glass...unlike some of the other pieces...this one stands out with a simple flow of colors that would make for an excellent stain glass piece of art. And I like the added touch of the flowing grasses...btw, thanks for the comment on the list of my favorite things to do. I had second thoughts of posting that one, but your comment reaffirmed that is a good idea to do for us that stuggle somedays. ;)

on Monday, July 19th,">Elise said

Interesting, you know, I *really* wanted to learn how to make stained glass windows but it seemed like so much work. I decided to do the next best thing, but the kits where you can paint windows to look like stained glass. I want to do that for two windows in my house, I like the idea of using the "blue nude" image for a stained glass. Thanks for the suggestion.

I also like your "favorite things to do" part II. Lost of good ideas!