One artist's journey: Trying to live a creative life with grace, grit, gratitude...and a border collie.
(or perhaps I should say: greys, grit and gratitude)

08 February 2014

Are We There Yet?

When is a painting finished?  This is a subject that could easily fill a dozen posts (and may, yet). Today I posted an image of a new painting on FaceBook.  It has been leaning against a wall "finished" for a couple of weeks so I could study it...yet, after I posted the image, I saw things that needed just a wee bit of work.

There are several ways to give yourself some perspective on a painting.  The classic is using a mirror...nothing will reveal flaws in your drawing or composition faster than a mirror image.  I am happy with the drawing on this piece...some of the colors look a little intense, but that is due to a less than accurate photo.

Historically, some artists would use a reducing glass.  With the convenience of cell phone cameras and digital images, though, today's artist only has to shoot a photo and look at the image. It can tell you a great deal about your piece.  Now, if you really want to see how your values balance...make a black and white image...

So...in re-evaluating this painting...what do I think it needs?  

The outline down the front edge of the fore horse's face it what really bugs me.  It was like that in the reference, just the way the light hit him...it was something I'd meant to fix earlier, but forgot.  Remember, just because it is that way in the photo, does not mean you should paint it that way!!
By losing the edge of that line, it should give it a little more dimension

The shadow on the rear leg under the belly of the grey horse also bothers me...it is just a little hard...the value is a little strong.  A few whiskers wouldn't hurt.  The highlights above the darker horse's eye might need to be just a tad less strong...and the edge of his jaw and neck should be softened.  The star marking on the darker horse seems a little strong in the composition...it would be easy to paint it out...but I would prefer to keep their markings accurate...so maybe push it back just a bit.

Obviously, it would be easy to nitpick and noodle it to death...I don't want to do that.  The changes I want to make will take about ten-fifteen minutes...then they'll be done.  Period.

Finished piece...

"Lean on Me"
24" x 18"
Oil on Stretched Canvas