Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A Near Miss

I rarely show my work in progress, for a couple of reasons. First of all, I don't really like to get feedback while I am working on something-with the exception of when I ask for input from Doug. Secondly, it literally never occurs to me to take a picture before the piece is finished.

But I had an interesting thing happen with a recent piece and I did get some photos along the way. Mostly because I had thought it was finished and then after a few days I ended up reworking it.

And I don't do that very often either, making drastic changes can really result in an overworked look for me and a loss of the transparency of the layers.

The underpainting looked fine (above, top). I have to say that generally, I am pleased with the all of the underpaintings that I do. Once in awhile there is a dud, but even then, changing it in a later stage can be successful. So if I decide to let an underpainting dry, it's going to be a full color painting. Maybe not a good one because there are still plenty of chances to mess it up, but it will at least have a shot.

So anyway, I began to add the color here and after the first session, the foreground was fairly light (no picture of that stage, sorry). The next day, I decided that wasn't working so I darkened it and softened the path (second photo). At this point I thought it was finished.

But I couldn't seem to get myself to photograph it. After looking at the piece for a few days, and talking about it with Doug a bit, I decided to get rid of the hill in the back. Very rarely do I make such a change in composition, especially at this point, but this time I figured what the hell. I didn't think it was really working so there wasn't anything to lose, except that maybe I wouldn't have to drag the dang thing out onto the porch to sand it down if I could get it to work. I made the sky an opaque blue and left a bit of the purple around the trees. When I did that I felt much better about it and then I finally documented the painting (third photo, above). Then I saw the image on the computer I realized that I hadn't gone opaque enough and so I had to paint the sky yet again. grrrr. THEN I took the last photo (below).

I have to admit that I don't always stick with a painting this long. If things aren't moving along I often bail and I have a pile of bad paintings to prove it. But when I still feel some energy about a painting, I will keep going and do what I can to pull it back. It's a nice feeling to be able to do that.

This painting will be included in the show at Enderlin Gallery, that opens this Saturday.

End of Days, 2007, Oil on Panel, 36x36


Tracy said...

Feel free to tell me that you liked the piece better before I eliminated the hill. I totally understand the subjectivity of all of this:)

Anonymous said...

I like it better without the hill. The colors are moody and mysterious. Really lovely, Tracy.

Hattermad said...

Where the sky meets the trees is absolutely hypnotizing..then my eye catches the grass on the upper left just below the tree line...another spot that holds the gently...the blue of the really nailed it...


Katherine said...

I like the design of both - I'm wondering if it was the colour of the hill which made you twitchy (know the feeling well!).

Did you try zapping the second photo with different colours? I sometimes play around with the colour palette on the computer to test out 'what ifs'.

Tracy said...

Thanks Shan and Hattermad, lovely comments.

Katherine, I didn't like the color, but I tried other colors and it still didn't work, so I felt it was the shape of it that was the problem as well.

I actually never use the computer to try other colors. I suppose I should, but I am not too skilled at photoshop and it would take me longer to do that than to just paint the color and then rub it off again. Plus I like the process of putting the color down, even if it turns out to be wrong.