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Saturday, January 26, 2013

When are you Finished with a Painting?

'Persevere'         9 x 12     pastel     ©Karen Margulis

It is so hard to know when to stop!  You know the feeling.  You are painting and you come to the point when you don't quite know if you are finished. You aren't sure what else to do and so you just keep fiddling...adding marks here and there without focus.  Before you know it you have not only finished the painting you have 'Finished it off' as we like to say here in the south. The painting has been overworked and you have lost that freshness that it once had when you weren't sure if you are done.

The advice I have heard is that if the little voice in your head wonders if you are is a good time to stop. Take a break. Come back to the painting with fresh eyes. Put a frame or mat on it and see just how much more or less it needs.

If you do end up overworking a painting like I did on last week's demo (see photo below) Don't give up on it.  I know you want to rip it up and put it in the trash but you can learn so much by working through it and making new choices. Don't let it defeat you. Learn from it!

Overworked Demo
I overworked my demo last week. Partly because I was talking and trying to teach things so I got too much pastel and busyness going on.  I took it home and thought about cropping it (see line)  I liked the top but the bottom was a mess.  Instead I realized that sometimes we need to take something away rather than add more stuff so I brushed out the bottom of the painting.

I gave it a spray of workable fixative and I reworked the grasses. I simplified them and added some sparks of color to help the eye move up to the top. I like it mush better and it was a good feeling to know that I didn't give up!

If you would like to learn more about watercolor under paintings you may like to read my other posts.


Sherry Schmidt said...

Beautiful Save Karen!

Anonymous said...

I love how pastel can be brushed out when it gets overdone! And it's nice to know overworking can happen to anyone. Your finished poppies really "pop" now.