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Wednesday, January 04, 2017

The Value of Time in Painting...A Refinish

'Through the Woods'       12 x 18      pastel         ©Karen Margulis
available $195
Make every mark count. Be mindful about your marks. Don't rush. Slow down! Think before you make a mark. This is all valuable advice. It is advice that has been a challenge for me to listen to because I have always been so anxious to paint....I just wanted to get right into it and let the painting evolve. But over time I have learned the value of slowing down....the value of letting the painting sit for a bit before making those final marks.

I have learned that the final marks on the painting can make or break it and they must be done with knowledge and purpose.

But what if you don't know what those final marks should be or where they need to go? It happens....a lot. Especially if you are new to painting. I have been going through my stacks and stacks of older paintings. And I have made an important discovery. I didn't really know what I know now....I didn't always make the best finishing mark decisions. Sometimes a painting was just short of being done even though I thought it was finished.

Now I can look at these paintings with a fresh eye and with more knowledge and experience under my belt. It is a wonderful thing to take an older painting and breath new life into it. (I am so thankful I didn't throw away these 'duds'.) This year I plan to go through these stacks and pick some paintings to finish. I'll be sharing my thoughts as I make those finishing touches.

the painting before the adjustments
Today I share my first 'refinish'. I liked the colors and composition of this winter landscape but it was lacking something. I also didn't like all of the peachy color in the snow.  Here are some of the adjustments I made:

  • I brightened the snow with crisper lights.
  • I added touches of brighter blue marks in the water
  • I redid the distant bare trees
  • I added color and heightened the orange bushes/trees on the left
  • I added sparked of warmer orange light on the bushes (spices)
  • I continued the creek behind the trees so it doesn't stop abruptly
  • I added more blue to the sky and brightened the horizon with a pale yellow

close up of marks

close up of marks

1 comment:

robertsloan2art said...

This is wonderful - and so true! I run into older paintings and sometimes I can just see what needs to be done. It was cool when I did it, but it sings with what I know now. Things I learned at the time are now practiced and easy, so I can heighten them and eliminate problems I didn't see or understand at the time. I was just looking at art I did in 2005 and it surprised me - sometimes better than I expected, sometimes not.

Pastel is fun that way. This is a good reason to use good archival paper, whether sanded or not. You never know how long it'll be before you get back to a project. It'd be a shame if cheap paper meant something wonderful got lost to time when you finally put in those last marks!