Wednesday, June 24, 2009
For the first time
Up until now, I have made it my policy to not touch up my plein air paintings once I get them back to the studio. That idea came from my desire to go out into the landscape and paint beautiful paintings in situ. Plus, if I were to enter a plein air painting show or competition, the requirements usually state that the work must have less than 10% done in the studio.
The result of this practice so far is a large accumulation of mediocre and terrible paintings.
The more I paint, the more I realize that each painting is part of my learning process, a marker for my artistic progress. My personal grade book where I keep track of things for myself only. Who else would be interested in such dull facts, anyway?
I propped up my Cresap Bay painting, from June 16, on the viewing ledge in my studio. I looked at the painting and looked at it. And saw plenty of things that bothered me. And, I decided to change them. After all, I reasoned, it was not a strong painting as it stood, so why not see if I could possibly improve it.
The first thing I changed was the value of the middle ground land forms. I felt like there was too much value shift from the farthest away parts and the middle parts. And, the middle and near land forms were too close in value.
The next thing I changed was the value of the water. I remember while I was painting it the first time that there was more value contrast between the "No Wake" buoy and the water surrounding it, but my hand kept going for the lighter colored pastels. So, I darkened the water in the foreground and middle grounds considerably. That allowed the contrast with the buoy to stand out more.
I need to look at this painting for a while and decide what I think of it now that it has been changed. But, I think it is improved. What do you think?