In this scene, the fact that the entire background is in shadow and the rest of the space is not goes a long way toward making the location of the various shapes quite clear. Still, some of the background shapes are light enough to create a little confusion. Do you see anything you'd be inclined to adjust?
What about that crazy reflection in the window to the right of the stop sign? It's distracting to me, and I don't see it as essential, so I'd edit that out. And there's a sidewalk sign right behind the pedestrian's head that's not doing any good. Scratch that. Come to think of it, the car in the background is too similar to the one in the middle. I'd darken it a bit.
There. That clears up any potential ambiguity, right? Or maybe it would be easier to just make everything in the shadowy background shape soft-edged. Then value, color, composition and wetness would be acting together to set off the middle and foreground shapes.
Deciding how many variables to employ to get shapes to be separate depends on how much you want to leave to the viewer. Sometimes you may want it to be clear where everything is in the first instant. Other times you may feel it's better to allow a little ambiguity.
|Eclipse Mary Whyte Watercolor|
This coastal scene is more than a little ambiguous. There are strong compositional clues that suggest how and where the shapes overlap, but the edges between them are lost in the similarities of color and value. Experiment with ways to adjust the variables that will lead to a clearer message.
The figures under the tarps are clearly separated from the sunlit background, but the tarps are not. What might you adjust to increase the differences between the shapes?