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Thursday, August 15, 2019

Taking a Painting from Finished to REALLY Finished!

'Head North'             9x12                pastel                   ©Karen Margulis
available $175
I just didn't listen. I had been given great advice but I guess I just wasn't ready to listen or more likely I didn't understand the importance of the advice. SLOW DOWN. I heard it from my teachers from my early days of painting (12 years ago). I couldn't. I was too anxious to paint and finish. Why should I slow down? I had learned to paint fast because of my busy work schedule. Painting 10 minute studies every day will do that. But I didn't learn to slow down to resolve those paintings!

I had to come to that place by myself. When I was ready. Lately I have embraced the art of slowing down....both in planning a painting and resolving it. Take the painting in the photo below. I painted it a few years ago. I signed it and put it in a clear bag to bring to workshops. I must have thought it was finished! But when I pulled it out and looked at it I could see several things that could be adjusted.  Some of them I might have noticed if I had taken the time to slow down and make my finishing marks with more care. Sometimes we just need time and experience before we can see these things with our own eyes and that is OK. It is part of the journey. 

The original painting needed help!
So what did a slower approach tell me about this painting? It needed an adjustment to the tree line. They were all in a row and the dark band of distant trees was too dark and distracting. I could have fixed the palm trees but instead decided to turn them into evergreen trees inspired by my trip to Alaska.

The painting also needed a more interesting foreground to middle ground. This area was too large and boring in the original painting. I used some workable fixative to rework this area. I spent about an hour on  this foreground area which is quite slow for me! But in the end the painting is much more interesting and polished. Slowing down to make these finishing marks made the difference.

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