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Friday, February 24, 2017

Refreshing an Old Painting...Behind the Scenes

'At the Forest Edge'          8x10         pastel        ©Karen Margulis
available $150
 It had good bones. There were things I liked but there were also many things that I didn't really like. I came across the older daisy painting hiding in a pile of unfinished and discarded works. I must have abandoned it in frustration a few years ago. But several years of daily painting have given me the tools I needed to refresh and revive this daisy painting.

I brushed off some of the pastel simplifying the painting and allowing me to address some of the issues that were now obvious to me.

The painting before a refresher
Here is a list of the issues I saw and what I did to fix them. The result was a much fresher and expressive painting....more to my liking.
  • There was nothing holding the flowers. They seemed to be floating on a bed of green. I added some darks underneath the grass to provide better structure.
  • The background trees had too many details. The dark tree trunks and branches were too dark and didn't make sense. I simplified these trees and got rid of the branch marks.
  • The sky was too dark. I used a lighter value blue and cream to brighten the sky.
  • The flowers were just ok. I didn't like how they were placed. The four in the middles were all the same size and formed a square. I brushed them out and rearranged them. I also brightened them up a bit.
  • The grasses were too stiff and what's up with the vine cutting through the middle of the painting?  I got rid of the vine and created more lyrical grasses.
  • I love purple but I wasn't enjoying the purple flowers. They looked like blobs. I vaguely recall adding them in frustration when I last worked on this painting. It was time for them to go. Instead I added a few subtle dots of violet and yellow to hint at other wildflowers in this patch.

After the brush off  and the new placement of daisies
Try this: Pull out a painting that you did at least 5 years ago that you were not happy with. If you haven't been painting that long pull out one of your older ones (even if it isn't that old!)  Challenge yourself to find at lease one thing that you now see is wrong or could be done better. Brush it off and give it a refresher!


Anonymous said...

Does this lovely work have an underpainting or is it done on black paper?

Karen said...

Thanks! It is on Uart paper and probable;y had some kind of dry wash underpainting. Since it was done years ago I don't remember! But when I brushed off this first layer it made everything kind of dark and murky!