No such thing as overworking
14 x 18"
"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.
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.
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.