Monday, June 25, 2012

Fixing a bad painting

I painted this nice ocean view a couple-three weeks ago, but wasn't quite happy with it. I mean, I've painted worse things but it just doesn't sparkle.

Luckily, I had the chance to show it to Mike Rooney at one of his workshops I attended, and ask the question "What is wrong with this painting?"

Mike has the ability to see what's working and what's not, in his own or someone else's artwork, and he know hows to fix it. That second part is very important.

His suggestions were:
1. Make the near land more green, less brown. The current color is kind of ugly.
2. Make the distant land more purpley, less green, so it will recede.
3. Vary the cloud color—they are in different places in the sky, they shouldn't all be the same.

I took his advice, and added a few details of my own: More land on the left, to break up the monotony. Also I angled the foreground land up on the left, for the same reason. All that horizontal sameness might be OK in a spacious, horizontal format, where that's what the scene is about. Not so much for this tight, vertical view.

The result is a much better painting!

By the way, if you don't know Mike, take a look at his work — he's a very talented painter. I've bought two of his paintings, just so I can study his technique up close :-)  

And here's the finished painting with a good scanner — looks better than the murky photos I took, but perhaps a little more saturated than in real life. It's hard to get an accurate reproduction of a painting...

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