In last week’s post I mentioned that I had a work in progress but couldn’t tell if it was progressing towards a mount, a frame and onto the wall, or straight to the bin?
Well, after spending a bit more time on it over the weekend, I can confirm that it’s heading for the bin… or at least the massive pile of paintings that may be valuable for what I learnt on the way, but aren’t really suitable for public consumption!
I liked the composition of the original photograph for this (with apologies for the quality – the one below is a photo of the photo!), and there’s no doubt that it’s a bit more involved and detailed than some of my recent work, but I thought that with a fair wind I could do it some justice:
Unfortunately, I ended up doing this painting in lots of little bits… ten minutes here, half an hour there, and I think it shows. I usually like to throw myself in and get as much done as possible as quickly as possible, and then finish off with some final details. I like the momentum of this approach and how, at its best, you become totally consumed in the act of painting.
With this painting however, I was doing it more like a jigsaw, an element over here, leave it for a few hours, another over there, leave it overnight, a dibble here and a dabble there.
That’s not to say I don’t like any of this painting.
– I do like the main building.
– I particularly like the wet sand in the foreground.
– I like some of the reflections in the foreground water, and the transition from this shallow water into the wet sand.
However overall, there’s a heavy-handedness to many of the elements which give it a particularly labored feel. I’m not at all happy with most of the left hand side of this image. I tried to simplify the view, but I’m just not at all convinced by the boats, buildings, background cliffs or by the reflections (– does that cover everything…?!). I should also probably mention the main boat as it’s such a strong focal point. Again, I think this is overworked. I became far too concerned with trying to portray the specifics of the hull of the boat, and in doing so, lost the essence of the boat.
In an effort to find some redeeming qualities, I tried a few different crops to see if a different composition improved my view of it.
It’s strange that I find this final, narrow crop (crop 3), the most satisfying. I say strange because the sky and the foreground sands are, to my mind, two of the most successful elements – yet it seems to me to work better with less of either!
I’m torn between trying to do this again straight away whilst so much of what I’ve learnt is still fresh in the mind (but paint it much more quickly and more loosely) or leaving it well-alone for a while and trying my hand at something completely different.
What do you think? Same again (striking while the iron’s hot?) or something new (because the grass is always greener on the other side)?