A Critique, and a Compliment

Fox Island Back Road 3

A friend, Elizabeth, told me that she sent a friend of hers to my January/February exhibit at the Botanical because she was having a hard time with, I think from the description, SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).  Elizabeth thought that my work would make her feel better.  So she went, not just once, but several times because she did find my work to be uplifting.  Wow!  I can’t tell you how encouraging it was to hear that.

Even though I recently had a show, and I will have others, I would love to say that every painting works out every time, but they don’t.  And I am OK with that.  I can still learn from the process of painting a bad painting.  I get to use my analytical skills to determine what is wrong with my bad painting.  And if I am determined to make it work, I have to figure what is going to make it work.  It can be really challenging when my photo reference shows me something that may or may not need to be included.  Some seem to think, or have given the impression, that it is a bad thing to struggle through a painting.  I disagree.  If we don’t struggle, how will we grow?

I used to worry when I felt like I couldn’t create a great painting every time.  Now, it doesn’t bother me.  When a painting isn’t working, I ask myself questions, mainly “what is it that isn’t working?”  Obvious question I know, but I think it helps to verbalize the problem.

Here is a painting that I did in the past month or so.  It is not working.  And yet I kept fighting it.  I thought, maybe if I do this, or maybe if I do that, maybe if I just keep working at it, it will finally work.  I finally decided that I was doing nothing more than fighting my painting.  I started over because I still envisioned a beautiful painting.

Fox Island - Back Road 1

I decided that my values were choppy, and the road was confusing.  I ended up over-working it – too much pastel on the surface.

This is my second attempt.  I feel like I held the values in the darker areas while still portraying a feeling of light.  I decided that although the area in the front on the left was in sunlight, I didn’t feel like I had to do more than suggest, because I really wanted to take you down that road and into the sunlight on the other side.

Fox Island Back Road 2

After looking at the above image for a while, I decided that I wanted to lighten the sky and to add more yellow to the trees.  I still don’t feel the warmth of the sun, but I still think it is a successful painting.  One thing that I learned is that I like orange under-paintings in the sky.  I will work with that in the future.

Going Towards the Sun.

Going Towards the Sun.

I am not sure that this painting is done.  There is something about seeing my work on a small scale that helps me to see how it is holding together. I think this is holding together very well.  I just might warm up that area at the end of the trail, just a little bit.  I am feeling… orange.

Here is my photo reference.

Eagle Marsh

“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”
George Bernard Shaw

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2 thoughts on “A Critique, and a Compliment

  1. Very nice Lisa. A question to ask yourself is if you’ve taken it far enough, and sounds like you do that. Looking for the lightest of lights and the darkest of darks and almost exaggerating it to make it “pop” seems to help. Questioning is always a good thing!

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