Feeling emboldened by last week’s ‘oil into water’ effort, I was keen to seek out another Seago oil painting that I might translate into watercolour. I found what I thought was a relatively simple landscape and, as usual, threw myself in headlong into painting over the most basic of preliminary drawings.
More often than not, I’m usually trying to fit in my painting around family plans, work, socialising, domestic chores, DIY, sleep, and generally trying to maintain life’s equilibrium. This particular day was no exception, which meant applying a wash, then off to do something. Then tackle another element, then off to do something else, and so and so on. So the effort below was completed over a small number of visits throughout the day. One of the advantages of this was that I’m unable to rush in and paint a new passage before the previous one has dried sufficiently. I’m usually, to my own detriment, a terribly impatient painter, so I was feeling immensely smug about the patiently mature approach I was taking on this occasion.
So it was with a degree of disappointment that, on reaching the what I thought was the end of my work, I was wholly unimpressed and felt that my day’s spaced out efforts had been a waste of time! Despite not having rushed the painting, it also didn’t look particularly well considered or executed. And the more I looked, the less I liked.
So it was that, with a sense of something to prove, I set about trying to redeem myself, and the day. Typically, I didn’t have much time to work with. The daylight was fading fast and I needed to get dinner on the go too. Once again, a very minimal drawing preceded a flurry of painting activity and, after about 20 minutes or so, I decided that enough was enough.
Yes it’s still rough around the edges. And yes it was painted with too much impatience, so wets merged into wets because I hadn’t left time for areas to dry out. But it’s got a liveliness about it too. Despite its greyness, the sky has an energy about it, the foreground trees haven’t been treated so heavily that they dominate, the fields on the right and the distant hills are much more convincing and there’s much great texture and variance in the foreground grasses. Of course it’s still far from perfect, but at least I was able to put my brushes down, tidy up, and begin cooking dinner imbued with just a small degree of painting satisfaction.
The last twenty minutes or so of focused effort had, it felt, eclipsed all of the day’s previous efforts. I doubt however that I could have achieved the second painting without having the experience of painting the first version. Reflecting on the two takes did remind me of the hare and the tortoise parable, with the exception that in this case, it was the hare-like approach that won the day.
Here’re the two side by side for ease of comparison (first version on the right, second version on the left). Be interested to know if people agree or not with my opinions on these two?