|"Poppy Field" before revision|
|"Evening Island" (oil, 14" x 11")|
I have a tendency of quitting a painting too soon. It's not because I am lazy. It's because of the fear factor--if I continue working on this pretty darn good painting, I am going to ruin it! Last week, in his first class of the winter term, John Murray told the students to be brave: "No one is going to die here. We are not performing a brain surgery. So go ahead, use big brushes and lots of paint, and knock yourself out." Or something like that.
We got a good laugh at his encouraging comments, but they got me thinking. I have a few paintings that are supposedly finished and framed. Whenever I look at them, however, I am bothered. Yesterday I decided to do something about this nagging sensation and unframed a couple of the guilty paintings. There was nothing to lose, you see? Just as when a painting is a knock-out, it is a knock-out; when a painting doesn't work, it doesn't work. No judges will like them; nobody will buy them either.
"Poppy Field" was too wispy. It looked good only when I turned on a lamp next to it. So I turned up the chroma (color intensity) of the poppies and greens in the foreground. For "Evening Island," I increased the value scale. The sky along the horizon was lightened and the grassy foreground was deepened. I also added texture with a rough bristle brush, dipping it into pure paints and mixing colors directly on the painting.
I am happy to report that no one died in the process and I just rescued two paintings from the ignominy of mediocrity. Not a bad reward for courage!