Sometimes I regret revisiting a painting when the first is still so fresh. Other times however, it feels the right thing to do. On this occasion I’m really pleased – and hugely relieved – that it seemed the right thing to do.
As much as I liked my first attempt at this view that I showed last week, after spending a bit of time with it, I definitely felt that I could improve on it:
Here’s the drawing for my second version, where I also hoped to iron out some of flaws of the first painting, such as the perspective of the main umbrella which I think was all a bit squonky on the first one.
Once I started painting, I also tried to take a more consistent approach to painting light to dark. On the first effort, after my initial wash had dried, I started with the building on the right hand side with a really (too) strong tone and this is one of the areas that particularly jars with me on the original.
Second time round I first worked on the buildings in the distance, then the left hand buildings and the archway, before moving onto the darker tones and shadow areas of the right hand side. I added in some details on the railings of the archway, to suggest some plants on the roof and on the railings and I think these help to add a little variety.
The result I think is that it’s a little softer, a little more nuanced with much greater tonal variety. The size, shape and treatment of the umbrella is much more satisfying. For the first version I kept the entire umbrella white until the end and tried to wash over some shade after everything else was finished. For the second attempt, I applied some really thin washes of the shade tone as I went, and I think this gives it a much more unified feel (although I now think find the way I’ve handled the figures beneath the umbrealla a bit annoying!). I was also pleased to be able to retain the richness and variety in the shadow areas – which, in areas such as the strong foreground awning are much more richly coloured than the first painting in which I used an intense black mix of ultramarine, alizarin crimson and burnt sienna.
For ease of comparison, here’re the two side by side:
I find it really interesting to be able to view the two together like this. I think they both hold up pretty well but, and I’d welcome your thoughts on this, I personally find the second one the more successful ‘complete’ painting.
I’m sure you’ll be delighted and relieved to learn that I have no intention of doing a version III of this scene (at least not any time soon!) and I’m already looking forward to tackling my next challenge.