Thursday, August 26, 2010
When things go wrong
I have been working on this new version of an arch at Natural Bridges National Park which I did quite successfully before. But on this one lmost everything has been going wrong. I wanted the area of the background and foreground with the yellows and pinks to be the focus but the busy sky was distracting from that. Everything I did to highlight the arch as a frame for what I wanted the focus of the painting to be just increased the "fight." All the values in the painting were too much the same and fought for the attention of the viewer.
If you use oil or acrylic you can just paint over everything you don't like. Water media is a bit different. But the makers of the watercolor canvas I use say you can "lift" of the color. And with some colors this is truer than others. Blue is one of those that likes to hang around. But before I stripped off the canvas and applied new to the stretcher bars I wanted to play with my mistake and see what would happen. Mistakes can be a valuable learning experience.
This is the canvas with the sky scrubbed off - or at least down. You can see how a more subtle sky puts what I wanted to focus on more prominent in the composition. If I end up redoing this painting I think I will go for a pink sky.
With more tidying up and then a general wash over the sky area with pink I feel I am at a point where time spent on the arch and distant plateaus will not be a wasted effort. The painting is by no means done but I am at a place where I can again work on the arch. I may never be satisfied with it but I have learned a lot from this mistake.
If I take off the canvas and begin again I will know better the direction I wish to take this subject.