Saturday, October 6, 2012

Better... or NOT?

I've retouched some old paintings recently— identified where they went wrong, and improved them (hopefully). So the other day I brought out something I painted at the beginning of 2011. This has always been one of my own favorites, and it's been a mystery to me why it didn't sell immediately and garner a bunch of critical acclaim.

The original
It seems to me that the weak spot is that little building on the right. This painting was done in one of Mike Rooney's AOC workshops, and we worked from photo reference. The house was not in the original photo, but Mike painted it in, to improve the composition. And, it worked great for his painting—but I'm not Mike :-)

My version has always looked cartoony and not-real. So I attempted to repaint it with somewhat crisper edges and better-defined shapes, but without over-illustrating it. Didn't work so great; I faced the same problem as the first time I painted—not having any real reference.

I didn't document that step, because it looked about the same as the original. Ultimately I decided to remove the house and trees altogether.

Revised version
Was it an improvement? I don't know. It's good to remove an eyesore, but now there seems to be a hole in the composition. But—is that simply because I know the history of the painting and know that something used to be there? Or does the space now give the boats room to breathe? Would it sit better if I went back to that more turquoisey color for the water?

I suspect I'm not done "fixing" this painting. 

1 comment:

  1. Tough questions, Marla, and I am not sure what the answer is either. I think the hull of the central boat does not stand out as much now because of the sky color changes. Maybe warm up the sky around the hull, the way it was in the original work, and add a little color change to the sea to make it a little more interesting. It plays a larger part now that the house is gone.

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