Correcting a Bad Composition

Miniature Eggplants
18 x 28
What was I thinking?
These are two views of the same painting.  The top one is the final version, and the bottom one shows something that happens all too often: perfect alignment.  Like placing your focal point in the dead center of your painting, aligning shapes and lines is not a brilliant idea, and yet I inadvertently do it all the time.

Setting up this still life took about an hour.  The eggplants had to be placed to look random and multi-directional; the little blue bowls couldn't be on the same plane as any of the eggplants; the patterned shawl's dark and light areas had to set off the values of the objects that overlapped them; negative shapes had to be varied and interesting, colour harmony had to be established; and the objects had to create a pleasing rhythm and balance each other well.

In all of that careful planning, I somehow didn't notice that the line of the shawl was a perfect continuation of the reflection in the water bowl. And then I painted what I saw.  It wasn't until I had photographed the "finished" work that I saw the problem - clearly - in the thumbnail version of the photo.

Luckily, the fix was quick and easy.  By repainting the shawl and white table cloth under the bowl of water, I could adjust the shape to something more dynamic and interesting and eliminate that uncomfortable alignment.  It's a small change, but it made all the difference.

I'll keep the camera handy for the next painting!