Too enchanted in my case - I forgot basic stuff even beginners know. These two watercolors have several problems.
2. Too many strokes - there was just lots to see and I didn't pick a focus and stick with it. AND I didn't think about simplification. I just kept finding stuff to put in. The artistic equivalent or hoarding or binge eating potato chips.
3. Unconsidered composition - no focus, no lead in, even the orientation of horizontal or vertical wasn't addressed. A thumbnail would have sorted all that out.
4. Worst of all, I was basically ok with them till I got home and looked at them a while.
Amusingly, I got some clues after Jessica sent out our traditional group photo.
She commented that she looked like Alfalfa from the Litte Rascals.
I disagreed, citing lack of cowlick and freckles (we're still debating the freckles) and suggested Sargent's portrait of Rosina Ferrara was closer to the mark.
That reminded me to look at some of his other works using the same model. Here's Rosina next to a stone wall in Capri not too unlike the environs in Bentonsport.
Being Sargent, he didn't make Preston mistakes.
1. He has an obvious focus - Rosina - but it could have been something inanimate too. All the major lines or shapes lead to her, or frame her shape.
2. The background and foreground are gloriously simple BUT NOT dashed off. From even a short distance they look quite resolved. HE SAW THEM IN RELATION TO HIS FOCAL POINT, not one at a time by themselves. Honestly, I know this stuff...
3. If anyone could pull this off in watercolor he could...but he knew light accents on a deep toned field isn't the medium's forte.
4. Diagonals - walls cut your foreground off from your background. It can be done but it requires fancy dancing.
At home I did a couple 3x5 sketches in my sketchbook - like I SHOULD have done first.
At least I figured out a horizontal orientation was better but a diagonal leading to a focus - or even just into deep space - would have been better. If you're going to run something right across your picture plane it needs to be a VERY engaging shape.