Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sometimes it isn't as Easy as it Looks

Crying of the Sorrows
I have set down at my desk in the studio and whipped out four or five paintings in a week. And then there are those that seem to take weeks. Admittedly not because I am painting on them all that time, but because I am staring at them wondering what to do next. The above painting was one of those. I had this mental image and a sketch, but it was something I had not done before and the emotion I wanted to convey was the governing factor. I am finally happy at where the struggle has taken me in this new work of the Dark Period.

At the same time I began Sorrows I started work on another natural bridge picture for the second time. Yes, it failed. And all attempts to rescue it only taught me what was wrong so off came the canvas and a new one stretched. I am rather happy with the final result but before we got to this point I struggled with just tossing the whole concept away.

Welcoming the Dawn/Final Version
The one that was not working. Too much competition

Scrubbing off the sky in attempt to rescue. The painting is not as noisy but I ditched it.

New beginning but the sky is better but still not right
Sometimes it makes sense to just give up. The sketch is based on a very successful painting that sold very quickly, Bridge of Enchantments, which is featured in the column to the right of this blog. I liked the composition but wanted to do a dawn version. The focus has to be the background and the rising sun so I figured a very plain sky but with the division of the arch that was not easy. The sky needed more variance to be a unified whole and not two parts.

This sky was actually a mistake, but sometimes mistakes work
My attempt to paint over the sky and unify it was frustrating and at some point I misted it with soapy water for clouds and got more than I wanted. The pink just got all splotchy. I walked away from it while I decided whether I wanted to totally ditch the painting yet again, strip off the canvas and use the stretcher bars for something totally different.

When I came back to the studio I noticed the mix of paint and soapy water had become something and with just a bit of lifting with cue tips and dry brushing I was able to create a cloud filled sky. I am considering this technique (which I wrote down when it worked) to do a stormy sky by layering blues and grays then soaping and lifting.

This painting has its own folder on my desktop titled When Things Go Wrong. And yes I would have given up long before I reached the finished painting if I had not been learning things during the entire path. This painting proved I can often learn more when things go wrong than when things go right. That was certainly true with Welcoming the Dawn.


  1. This is fascinating. I love what you ended up with. The soapy water thing worked really well.

  2. I LOVE MY PAINTING!! Crying of The Sorrows

    1. Thank you, Ava. So happy you popped up here. Wondering where and how you were.


I appreciate all kind comments on my art and poetry.