Friday, September 16, 2011

Recovered a painting from a possible creative disaster

Hi there,
Original photograph
Last week  I started this painting called "In the Valley".  It was inspired by the myriad pictures that I took at Mt. Rainier National Park.  It is .a beautiful place soaked in natural beauty.  When I zeroed on one of the reference photographs I knew it would be a challenge but never thought it would be a struggle.. 
As always I started with the under tone of raw-umber and burnt sienna.  This is the part when I decide on my composition.  Its the most significant part of my painting process.  Thereafter I started working in layers and everything was going perfectly fine until I hit the road block....

The problem was with the shadow area.  Since it was dark it was becoming harder for me to figure out the details..and besides the water stream was just not working for me in the painting.  Its a terrible feeling for an artist when you start a painting with certain expectations and it just doesn't work out. 
Intermediate stage...almost labeled as a creative disaster
If you check out the intermediate stage...the foliage, the mountains and the depth were all working in perfect harmony.  The problem was with the foreground.  Firstly, the purple shadow was not gelling well with the rest of my palette and not to ignore the water stream was just not looking like one...oh God .. what do I do now?  Should I call it trash?...Should I just cut it into a smaller size ?...All these questions were relentlessly popping into my head.  I must say it was pretty stressful cause I really had high expectations from this painting. 

In order to overcome the stress I decided to put it away for a day or two.  In those days I reworked on my composition.  Was wanting to figure out how to accommodate the water stream.  I got "back" to my painting and this time with a fresh eye.
The changes I made were...
  • I discarded the purple shadows and kept the colors very harmonious with the rest of my palette.  I transformed the rocky/stony foreground into a beautiful lush green meadow...which gelled perfectly well with my foliage and the mountains.  
  • Next hurdle was the water stream...I could not discard that because the water stream was supposed to lead the viewer into my painting.  So I found a way to keep it.  I did make it a little narrow and transformed the gushing/running water into still water. 
"In the Valley" 18x24 oil on panel

And voila!...Target achieved. The end result was extremely satisfying.

A few things I learned in this process were..
  • Do not give up on a painting because you CAN turn it around if you try a little harder.
  • Most importantly, its OKAY to change the composition and the color palette from the original photograph in order to suit your needs...Use your artistic license liberally..hehe..

Thank you for visiting my blog.  I hope you had a good read. Happy weekend and happy creating!
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  1. Thank you for sharing this Ria, I was curious what had happened. Your redesign is wonderful.

  2. Much more aesthetically pleasing to the eye, Ria. And the colors are perfect. Good job on the reconstruct.