Sunday, June 12, 2016

Why change an older painting?

Peace In the Valley, Oil 36"x48" painted in 2011
Sometimes we paint a piece of artwork that we love most aspects of, and decide it is a finished piece. I am a firm believer that paintings are really never finished, we just decide it is the best we can do at this time in our career. When trying to decide if it is finished, I always say:

"When you are backing away to make your decisions, be thoughtful. If you don't know anything more to do, that would make it perceptibly better, then don't do anything."

The painting above was painted in 2011, and is a 36"x48" oil on a gallery wrap canvas. I was trying to convey a morning with the sun low in the sky and reflecting on those clouds and the land and trees. This painting has been in my gallery in Marietta, GA, Frameworks Gallery, for most of that time. They have moved it around, placing it in many premier spots in the gallery and always getting good comments and rave reviews. But, it just had not met it's owner yet. I brought it home last week, and decided to work on it to see how I could improve on it. You know, we keep learning, and refining our thoughts on how best to present a feeling in a painting. So I stood and thought about what kind of feeling did I want to change this one to?

Bottom of the painting redone

My first thought was change some of the colors in the field to a more traditional green, and then maybe with highlights of taller grasses in the middle ground ... those we see that have seed heads on them making the color a little more on the neutral side, or maybe on a light warm beige or wheat color. These could have bits of peach or pink in them... along with a light green. This was something I was seeing in my mind's eye.  I knew it needed something else! I also wanted to lead the viewer into the painting... so next thought, "how about a pathway or road!"

The top third of the painting with cloud changed
And, if I am changing the colors of the land, then I need to change the colors showing in the cloud to be consistent with the colors of the land. The light will still be morning light and low in the sky. But, I'm not sure this is the finish of the clouds... I need to refine the shape of the cloud. Right now it does not look believable to me.

The middle third of the painting still needs work!

And, the middle portion of the painting might need some color changes too. It is still a little too yellow for my taste. The middle and distant grasses of the painting have been changed a couple of times. Mix a little different color for that distance, and make sure as I change that cloud, the land mass reflects the same kind of light.

But, do be aware that my grasses aren't that yellow, and greens in the trees are not really the color you are seeing, but much darker. I do think the photo is not showing correctly... the grasses in the distance are more yellow in the photo. This photo of the total painting was done inside even though I changed the color cast in Photoshop Elements to be more natural, and less like the yellow light we find inside. The final one will be done in natural light outdoors and the colors will be more true.

The redo as it stands from last week's work... ready to start again!

Still some sitting on my stool and thinking about what do I want to convey, and how best to do so. Wish me luck!