Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Are You Willing to Risk your Painting?

If a painting is going okay, are you willing to risk losing it to make it better? Do you remember me blogging this underpainting? If not, you can go back to the original post.

This painting was going okay. Pleasant enough. I didn't really think about it until I showed an artist friend my paintings in progress. His felt that the composition wasn't as strong as in my smaller works.

I immediately saw what he was seeing. Damn.
His advice was to stick with the smaller size.

But I wanted to try something different. What if I made the composition tighter, as if it were a smaller work?
Since I had done the underpainting in acrylic, this was definitely doable. I just had to redraw and repaint.
You can see that I am still struggling with working in acrylics.
All I am trying to do is create the new composition and get the drawing basically right. The fact that it looks all splotchy doesn't matter. This figure will eventually be covered in several layers of oil paint.
Now I put the vines in to see how the dark values in the leaves work against her figure. This is all compositional stuff. Where the figure is in relation to the support, how the values (light and dark) work in the painting, and the basic colours. All compositional stuff.
This is how far I will take the acrylic underpainting. It gives me the basic idea. My next step will be taking it into the oils.

I feel the new composition is a stronger statement. Whether that is better or not is a matter of opinion. Maybe it will be a little intimidating in the larger size? My other paintings are tiny, 9" x 12". This one is 15" x 20". It is a very different experience.


agnespterry said...

I just started working with 3 foot by 4 foot paintings this semester in my first painting class--and I've even learned how to make them myself!

It is VERY different to paint on this scale, but a lot of fun; if you are having a lot of troubles, you might consider moving up to a much bigger brush. I find it's easier to work on something if I know what it is I am looking at, and a big brush just covers a LOT of area and it's easier to refine later if I need to without much hassle.

The brush I use initially is almost three inches wide, and it gives me a lot more freedom to change things as I put down paint on the canvas!

Zom said...

Hi Agnes, I have painted large before and I agree with you, a big brush to start helps a lot.

I meant maybe the larger painting will feel more intimidating to the viewer. It feels closer and more confronting.

Linda said...

I agree that the composition is much better. The first, while great, looked like it was missing something. Now it looks complete.

Sharmon Davidson said...

That's a question we have to ask ourselves, isn't it? I believe we need to be willing to risk ruining a piece for the chance to turn something mediocre into something great. If we totally mess it up, at least, hopefully, we learn something that's valuable later. It's hard to do, though!
I think you proved my point- the second composition is much stronger. I appreciate your willingness to share your process; not only can we learn from each other this way, it's just fascinating to see the work evolve. I love seeing how other artists work!

Zom said...

Linda, I would have put more vines in the background, but that is still kind of weak. It will be interesting to see how it develops.

Sharmon, I really like seeing how other artists work too.

Anonymous said...

The tighter composition helps a lot. The old size question...small:easier to manage, load in the car, fit more in the gallery, cheaper to frame. (Not that you were asking !!)

Zom said...

Don, but also it makes a difference in how one 'reads' the painting. Such as: smaller is more intimate - you have to get up close, and so on.

Ricë said...

I think it makes a huge difference, and I like this arrangement a lot.

Gabriela said...