Farmers Market Freinds

I’m really happy with the way this painting (from a photo I took at the Farmers Market) is progressing and since I couldn’t finish it tonight and it’s back to the office tomorrow, I decided to share it as a work in progress.

Questions for you:

  1. Can you tell that the woman on the left is resting her hands on her shopping cart handle and that there’s a plastic bag of stuff in the cart?
  2. Is the way her hands are mostly one light shape confusing?
  3. Is that area of hands/cart handle/plastic bag distracting? (Before I pointed it out.)
  4. Do you think I should leave their shirts alone or add the patterns that were really on their shirts?
  5. Anything you see that needs fixing (other than the list above and below)?

I still need to add paint to the truck in the background to get the color right, paint in the lettering and add some contrast to the lady on the right (and maybe adjust her face a bit).

Faces, Oil Painting, Painting, People
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Join the conversation! 13 Comments

  1. Jana,

    I like how the folds on the jacket work, and the reflected light.
    But I do see a problem with the hand/cart area.
    I see a hand coming out of the woman’s left sleeve, but what looks like a metal hook prosthesis coming out of her right sleeve. I know that’s not your intention but see if you can see it as I do. The metallic part is so much more prominent than her hand that the two hands together form one shape (left hand) leaving us to think the poor woman has a hook for her right.

    Keep going!

    Thanks Karen. That’s exactly what I was afraid of and what I was seeing too. Thanks for the honest feedback. I should have adjusted the composition from the photo before starting I guess. Maybe I can replace the hands/cart area with a display of produce so that the hands and cart are behind that, in order to give the context of the market.


  2. Perhaps the addition of subtle shadows in the hands would bring them forward and make (especially the right hand) them stand out from the handle of the cart. I think including the handle and the plastic bags give the painting some context, since it is the farmer’s market, and these are shopping-related details.

    It’s a great start-I like the mood of the painting, the highlights on the clothing, and the light/dark color contrast!

    Thanks for the good suggestion. I had a feeling when working on the cart handle that it was becoming too prominent compared to the hands.


  3. Jana,

    I was focused on the hand situation before, but seeing the painting again I’d lose the lettering in the background. It is distracting and pulls the eye away from the faces. It doesn’t tell us they’re at a farmers market – it makes me think maybe they’re at a U-Haul lot or a truck stop which is confusing to the story. the woman with her face toward us is the center of interest even though the foreground woman is larger. The viewer’s eye wants to go to the darkest dark against the lightest light, and the sharpest edges. That’s the word trucks and vans. Is that where you want the eye to go?


  4. I think the hands area would work better if the other ladies jumper wasn’t such a close colour, I believe the part of her jumper underneath the hands is what is throwing it off.
    The bag doesn’t look plastic just yet but is well on it’s way, perhaps some bluer tones to differentiate again from all those skin colours and pinks?
    I love the orange sweater and the communication between the figures.


  5. I’m not as distinguished at the previous posters, so take my comments with a grain of salt. I agree that the hands need separating. I like the light on orange shirt so I wouldn’t add patterns. you may want to put some pattern on the pink shirt in order to bring a little more focus to the right side of the picture. I’m OK with the plastic bag and the cart, but I agree that the end of the handle is a little vague. You have such a great sense of light on the person on the left, I kind of want to see the same on the person on the right. The picture has a nice airy feel.


  6. Hi Jana!!!! I think thing is coming along marvelously — but the first comment is what I saw as well — the right hand seems to have a bar instead of a hand …. and yes, I’d diminish the lettering .. but mercy, those folds and shadows on her jacket seem perfect to me … Can’t WAIT to see this finished!


  7. Oh, Jana, that FACE, is wonderful. My eyes go right to
    it. The other artists have pointed out what you might
    do with the hands. I’m so a beginner that I couldn’t
    say, but I’ll tell you what my eyes do– they go to that
    happy face, then to the hands grasping the side of
    the cart handle with a grasp that says, “I’m ready
    to roll!” I didn’t take in all the things that the rest
    observed until I read their comments, so I’m sure
    you’ll figure out how to define the hands. But I do
    hope you can keep in that GRASP that I THINK I am
    seeing, because it does make me smile, and I see
    two women who are starting in on A GREAT DAY.


  8. A wonderful start – such a heart warming subject without being at all cliched or ‘cute’. You have lots of suggestions for altering – here’s another. I agree with others that the most important part of this piece is the eye connection between the two women – but I think it is operating only weekly. My eye goes first to the lady on the right but then, instead of making the connection to the eyes of the lady with the trolley, my eye travels down the strap of the bag and across to the hand area. Howabout thinking about making the bag strap less powerful and pulling the eye over to the trolley lady by darkening her glasses. Then the eye should go down the sleeve to the hands on handle, the area which importantly ‘sets the scene’ – it tells us that these two didn’t plan to meet – looks like one is waiting while the other is passing by while shopping and they recognise each other – such an everyday occurrence and yet so surprising in a painting. I think the hands need a little shading to seperate them and that the trolley handle needs to be shortened so it doesn’t ‘go up the sleeve’ but curves around sooner, under the heel of the hand. And I would knock back the text a bit. If the eye needs a bit of help getting from the left lady’s glasses down the sleeve to the hand area you could add something like a button to the outer edge of that front sleeve. Probably would hardly even need to be a different colour – just a little something. How nice to be able to change things – so hard in water colour. But, of course you have to think what to do! 🙂


  9. This is such a warm, happy painting – perhaps the handle could just be rounded off before it goes into the sleeve? I think the cart and bag – I see it as a plastic bag – are important. Perhaps if you put some pattern on the seated figure, it would throw up the hands more… perhaps you’re getting too many opinions here and will get all anxious and confused!!! But I really love this and don’t think it needs too much tweaking – look forward to seeing what you do.


  10. Nice job painting the sun and reflections. Like the two women interacting.


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  12. I don’t know if you’ve finished the painting yet, but here are my comments.

    The friendship/friendliness of the ladies is what this painting is about, and you’ve done a wonderful job of capturing that in the face of the lady on the right.

    Anything you change in this picture should keep bringing attention to the center and those emotions.


  13. Please don’t do much to this lovely painting. The rough, brilliant colors and un-fussy shapes give the feel of high summer. I do think maybe you should contour the back of the near hand slightly, to separate the shapes. But the plastic bag is charming, just charming–as is–please leave it alone. The fact that there is something in the picture we can’t see at all–the brightest object–adds a touch of mystery.

    My only suggestion is that perhaps you should dull the white of the truck, to make the figures stand out more and bring out the imaginary line between the two faces. I love this picture, the casual friendly energy of the women, and the spontaneous feel of it.


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