For the past two weeks I have blogged about a pastel painting in progress, Cascade. And now it’s time to answer the question I posed, “Is it soup, yet?”
Perhaps the way to answer the question of whether or not a painting is finished is to ask yet another question. Does it feel like the “dance” is over?
Painting for me is like dancing. I lead the way with my value study and sketch. As I work on the painting, there is an excitement and energy that seems to take over the whole process. The painting steps in and suggests where it wants to go. I respond. I lead, it responds and so on. It’s music and poetry in action.
You might have noticed that I titled the painting, Cascade, right from the start. I like to know with whom I am dancing! I find doing this helps me stay focused on what my initial intent was in deciding to paint the scene. It helps me stay on track, stay in step. So when I am hesitant about whether to make a move, or develop a certain area I have my original concept to guide me.
When I sense the music is slowing down, I stop.
So after two days, I set Cascade aside so that I could come back on day three to evaluate the painting. I twirled my partner upside down to see what I might not see otherwise. This is what I saw:
1. Right away, the hard edge along with the left hand rocks was too defined. It was pulling my eye away the cascading water. By softening the value difference and some smudging with my finger I softened the edge.
2. I thought the values on the right hand rock and the water directly below it needed to be darker in value. This would help add contrast near the focal area.
3 . The juxtaposition of the left hand rock and the horizon line at the base of the trees jumped out of me. It was creating a bit too much tension. The shape of the rock was too uniform, so I added some character by adjusting its shape.
The background trees were too dense. By opening them up a bit I was able to introduce sky holes with the added advantage of bringing some blue to the top of the painting.
4. Looking back at the day 2, a.m. image I liked the way the water flowed from the upper right. I seemed have to lost that with the development of a rock form instead. So I retraced my steps and went back to less rock and more water.
5. The contrast and the straightness of the line here was pulling my eye to that spot.
So once I went through my “analysis” I made my changes. I signed my name. The dance was over. It was time to get something to eat. How does soup sound?
Cascade, 20 x 24″
© 2009 Marianne Post