Good news and bad paintingPosted: September 21, 2015
Let’s start with the good news. My painting “Breakwater” was selected for 90th Annual Open Juried Exhibition of the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour at the Halifax Public Archives Exhibition Room, Halifax, Nova Scotia. (Exhibition date: Nov 4, – Nov. 28, 2015). This was painted on location in Gloucester in June and if you want to read a little bit about the process you can here.
And now for the bad painting. Yesterday I received this comment on my blog from Francisco about my post from Saturday, “would love to see a batch of the “disasters”, might qualm the feelings of inadequacy that arise when viewing your work.” He was responding to a comment that I had made about painting without pencil lines,”When I paint this kind of sketch with no pencil lines, it always starts out easy. You make one nice brush stroke (in this case, the geranium bud at the top) and then you move downward. At a certain point you realize that it is getting more complex and there is no plan for where to go next. It is a bit like a flow chart. One arrow points to success and one leads to disaster. More often than not the outcome is the latter, but occasionally it turns out ok.”
I’m up to Francisco’s challenge. I can’t seem to find any disasters (in the disaster pile) that occurred because of lack of pencil lines but I do have this little dud that I painted on the same trip to Rockport as my lighthouse above. I would probably qualify this one under the heading “lack of planning”. I can’t blame this on bad paper because this is done on Arches, nor on the weather, because it was a perfectly beautiful day. It was painted while on an outing with family (can’t blame them either) but in my haste to get this done and not keep them waiting, I didn’t take the few minutes necessary at the beginning to sketch out a value plan. The result is a weird optical illusion — the rear wall of rock seems to float above the foreground rocks. Probably a little work in Photoshop would help me figure this out, but I think what I did wrong was to bring the dark reflections of the rocks on the left too far down. And because I knew something was wrong, instead of leaving it alone and analysing it later, I did what I often do, which is to keep on adding paint. There are other design errors too. The shapes at the top seem to echo those at the bottom, almost like two paintings. And the foliage in the shadow of the rock wall is too light. Could this dud have been avoided with good planning? Probably. Will I make the same mistake again? Sadly, yes. But it’s a good exercise to spend time analysing what went wrong and trying to avoid it next time. Thanks Francisco.