Sunday, June 17, 2018

No such thing as overworking

Summer Walk
14 x 18"
Rose Frantzen once said in an interview that a painting is like the alphabet, from A to Z.  But if you always stop at D, out of the fear of overworking it, you'll miss out on the potentially great things that might happen at L.  This resonated.

"Summer Walk" started as a fresh, rough statement with a nice mood and, thanks to a lot of preliminary Photoshop and watercolour studies, good colour.  It could have been left largely as it was, and it had just enough nice moments for me to have reached the tweaking stage - I was using smaller brushes, and not making big changes to shapes - but it felt unsatisfying.  There's a richness and depth that comes from working a surface several times that was absent in this alla prima piece.  

version 1
So I scraped it down, and let it dry.  Scraping ensured that I blurred the surface, and destroyed those nice moments that were holding the piece back.  

When it was dry, I went back with big brushes, restating the thing that was important to me about this piece: the colour scheme.  The reference for this was a b&w family photo, and I'd envisioned the scene as a candy box array of pastel colour notes.  That concept had gotten lost in the task of rendering the figures.  This step brought me back to my concept and added a welcome layer of complexity to the surface.
version 2
By restating all of my shapes larger, I regained the potential for negative shaping, and also moved the colours around the composition, creating a greater sense of unity.  Suddenly, the painting had new avenues for me to explore, and the initial version had become just an underpainting.  I couldn't have arrived at the finished statement without it, and I got some of those "L" revelations that are so satisfying.

Happy painting!




2 comments:

Sharon Lynn Williams said...

Wow, just WOW. You are a truly wonderful artist my friend.

Carol said...

Thanks for the insight into your practice, love your work. Love the quote, think I have often stopped at D, usually dissatisfied. On the occasions when I have gone to Z the painting will have gone through many lives until I reach the point where I am happy with what I have done.
You mention using photoshop, would you mind explaining how you work with iit