Wednesday, January 18, 2012

"Poppy Field" (oil on linen; 16" x 12") sold

"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!

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