Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Big changes

Chinese Teapot
30 x 30
This painting has had a lot of revision; most recently and most constantly, in the orange drape under the teapot.  It used to be green - as it was in life - and I just couldn't make it work.  All the parts were there: the green had good illumination, the shadow was accurate, but the painting didn't sing at all.

Finally, when I cut it loose from its source - the objective still life - and treated everything as open to change, I began to enjoy it more, and could make some major changes.  Changing the drape to a warm orange helped life the painting into a more inviting space, and I no longer disliked the sight of it when I entered the studio every day.  There was already a lot of orange threaded through the painting, and this gave a pleasing completeness in my eyes.

While it's liberating to change what is, to what you want it to be, it's a hard leap for most painters to make.  Whether we work from life or from photos, we tend to mine the reference for as much information as possible, and, if the painting is failing, we look for more and more information in the vain hope that detail will save the work.  It never does.  My most successful saves happen with a big brush and a big change.

At the moment, I think it's done, but that could change, too.  I'll keep my big brush handy.

Happy painting!

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