"Rugged coastline near the Fox River, West Coast."
We've all had that feeling occasionally that a painting has missed the mark but it can be hard to determine why.
I mentioned in one of my blog pages just recently, that it was a good idea to put a painting away and have a fresh look at it after perhaps a month or so. These two photos of a recent painting are a good example.
The 1st version (top) went off to a gallery where it hung for some months but I was not sure that I was completely happy with it. Unfortunately, the gallery closed down and the painting came home. On seeing it with a fresh eye, I realized why I had been uncertain about it. The lower photo is the new version – resized and repainted completely! People who saw the original version said they thought it was great, very striking, etc. However, having seen it afresh, I was convinced that it either had to be changed or destroyed.
There were several reasons that I was unhappy. I felt that the colours I had used were drab – there was a lack of sunshine. I also realised that I had created a number of focal points – the large piece of tree trunk slightly right of centre, the second piece of driftwood in the sand slightly left of centre, the splash of the wave, the rock tower above the splash - just far enough away from the main rock structure to feel separated and therefore distracting to the eye. Even the distant hill was a problem – too hard edged to fall into the background. And the sky felt lifeless! I also realised on seeing it again, that it was simply too big.
I don't like working over a dry painting but this one was large, (2.4 m long), and had taken a good deal of time and materials so I decided to give it a second chance.
With 600 mm. lopped off one end, re-shaped and rearranged elements, much better colour, and greater variation in the sky and foreground, its now one of my favourites. And all it took was a few hours! I've decided that on a painting this big, some preliminary design work on paper and perhaps a small colour rough are almost essential.
Sigh....... it seems theres always more to be learned!