Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Crape Myrtles revisited, aka Zombie Painting

original, 18" x 11", oil on canvas
There's something I don't quite love about this painting. On the one hand I am/was super thrilled with the way the crape myrtle itself turned out — all that lovely red bark. And I really like the elegant, misty trees in the background.

It's been hanging in my living room for a few months, and finally it struck me that there's just too much white in it. It looks chalky. I know some painters rarely use white, and now I begin to see why. In the 16 months since I painted this, I've come to rely on it less and less. Mostly I use white in shadows now, which may seem a little contradictory, but sometimes I like the way it looks with that smoothed-out color. The white actually grays the shadows.

Anyway, I decided this painting looked lifeless and zombie-like. ZOMBIE PAINTING.

(Which, btw, there's an artist on DPW who does very original zombie paintings, if you're interested).

improved version (same size :-)
Accordingly, I did some warm washes over the few sunlit areas with permanent yellow and yellow ochre — extremely thinned with mineral spirits so it didn't become too opaque — and a wash of alizarin crimson on some of the cooler areas. It almost looks like a different painting, doesn't it? But that's all I did.

That and take a photo that's not blurred :-)

I like it. Perhaps it lacks some of the impact of the original, but it's a more attractive painting overall, and I think the foreground crape myrtles stand out better from the background now.

You can view and buy the new improved Spring Crape Myrtles here.    

2 comments:

  1. Marla, You did exactly the right thing! I like to glaze with very thinned paint and a little liquin....same effect except it also makes it look like a coat of varnish.

    The painting is wonderful, love the shape of the crape myrtle and those trees in the background are to die for!

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    Replies
    1. I was sooooooo proud of those trees! I have a graphic design/illustration background, and I love anything linear or graphic - not always good for painting, it's hard to break out of that and be loose.

      I do use Liquin also, especially in the initial blocking-in.

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