Friday, 8 February 2013

Last Year Revisited

Lily Of Willunga Valley
I have spent the last two days going through my ever growing pile of unframed paintings but also taking a look at those that I have framed and have had either in an exhibition or just hanging on my studio walls. My art journey through 2012 was very intense and though I sometimes wonder if I am making progress I have felt recently that so much more of my art does end up being a worthy painting  so now my focus needs to be the composition. I feel I have more consistency in my techniques to carry a painting through (most of the time LOL) if I could just match this with making good composition choices. I don't mean when I paint from a reference photo as I can study the composition well enough before even starting to paint but I mostly mean those paintings I do right out of my head where I intuitively build them as I work with what is happening in front of me. Working with the pigment and water as it is also doing its own thing brings lovely rewards but the trick is getting a good composition at the same time!
I did toss away quite a few yesterday as lost causes but kept a few back to revisit them and see if I can make some improvements with my present skills and nothing will be lost if this doesn't work out, they can always go in the same bin but it does give me a challenge to give it a shot. I don't mean just making a cropped smaller painting from any good bits but to really try and enhance by either adding or subtracting here and there or improving the tonal values

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The before a revisit
Yesterday I took a painting of Arum Lilies I did last August and at the time I really was very thrilled with the result - mostly because I had used a lot of texture and I also loved my colour choices. My husband Ian helped me make some of these revisit decisions as two eyes are better than one and he said this one needed something. This is the before photo. I realise I lost some of the elements that appealed to me so much the first time around but I am mostly pleased that I was able to add a lot to the composition of this painting and also some strength.

12 comments:

  1. Interesting post Lorraine. Great fix on the lilies. I like the deeper colours and tones. The change has made the flower heads more prominent. Funny how tone and depth are always last to become instinctive. I've concentrated on that too this past year and my work and instinct has definitely improved because of it.

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    1. Thanks Laura, sad my light texture got swallowed up though

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  2. Wonderful post Lorraine! I remember your lily piece and comments that it seemed like two sides. I see what you mean about losing lovely parts but I really like the stronger values and composition.

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    1. Sherry thanks for your feedback, when you embark on a rework there is no going back so it is good if the piece makes it through!

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  3. I think the additions make such a difference, more central interest, but especially the darks that automatically bring out the lights. You have a richness about the second painting. But yes, I did love some of the texture and light areas in the first painting too.

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    1. Oh Polly that chase to have it all, hopefully my brush miles put in during 2012 will bring it altogether this year

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  4. Your journey is so similar to mine and I fully agree that the major consideration is the composition especially now you have the skills, it is certainly mine!! You have added more oomph with the darks and like the way you have added one or two more definable flower heads from the bg... the big question is, where to add those darks and where to put the extra flower heads? And as you have lost some of the bits you like, how to have planned all that in the first place.

    And here's where I don't practice what I preach..... but I do think it is where a sketch book becomes invaluable especially when you are trying to create the composition out of nothing. I used my sketch book to work out a composition for the series of Sea Holly and it is still what I think is possibly one of my best pieces yet (the one with the drippy bits?) I worked out the size and placement of each flower head, the tones and textured areas so that I could then get on with the painting knowing my composition worked. Need to do it for everything I tackle as particularly with flowers there is always an element from my imagination rather than completely from life.

    I also sometimes revisit my earlier pieces and find a fresh look will help me solve some of the problems... not so much to do with tonal variation, more to do with where I've placed them within the composition.... as we progress I think we will find everything comes down to composition in the end!!

    Really good blog Lorraine. will share it!!

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    1. Thanks Judith for sharing your own experience - seems we watercolourists share so much, The journey has to be travelled and I guess we just get over the bumps as we go along but I so thoroughly enjoy creating and am so pleased I put in so much practice this past 12 months so I can leave some bumps behind and tackle new ones as they turn up. Glad you like the post

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  5. Hello Lorraine:) I hope you're not angry with me but I like the "before". I can't help it. The straight blue is so beautiful with the white flowers. I like the composition as it was. But hey; it's just me, so nothing to worry about! Have a nice weekend:)xx

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    1. No problem Renate, that is what art is all about isnt it?. I too love a lot about the before but as you know there is no going back just on! You too have a great weekend

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  6. Lorraine, I love what you did to the lilies. They really pop! It is wonderful to hear about your art journey and that you are enjoying it along the way:)

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    1. Appreciate you stopping by Leslie and for your nice encouragement on my Arum Lilies

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I love sharing my journey with fellow bloggers and your feedback through comments is always appreciated.