Looking at my offerings for this week’s post, I’m reminded of a definition of stupidity that goes along the lines of:
Stupidity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result
Now I don’t want to suggest I’m stupid (even if it does sometimes feel that way) but last week I showed a painting that I enjoyed doing, but which I felt could be significantly improved upon:
I even had it clear in my head how I would go about this. This makes it all the more frustrating that a further two paintings down the line, I’m still not satisfied and still keep repeating the same errors again and again! Below are efforts two and three and, for identification purposes I’m calling them Grazing 1, Grazing 2 and Grazing 3.
As is so often the case, I like elements of each of them. Overall I think Grazing 2 feels like the most satisfactory, but what irks me most about the three paintings is the main tree, which I just can’t seem to crack! After wanting a tree with more gaps (for the birds to fly through!) I’ve actually done denser and denser trees! Each time I have tried a different approach, sometimes using more drybrush, sometimes working more wet into wet, and on each occasion, all roads have led to a flat 2 dimensional mass of paint! What I have done differently with versions 2 and 3 are to plan the paintings more accurately into a grid of thirds. In each version I’ve treated the foreground differently, on 2 applying a wash of yellow for the cowslips first, then dry brushing green over the top, and on version 3, applying the yellow almost straight from the tube and dry brushing that over the pale green wash. I’ve also been trying to create more distance with fainter hills in the background. The cows continue to be a little hit and miss, but at least they’re working better proportionately.
It’s frustrating that the more I’ve done on this, the further away I feel I’m getting! The good thing is that this scene is so quick to sketch out and to paint (maybe that’s where I’m going wrong!) that I don’t feel too frustrated by the time, just my inability to render what I’m seeing in my mind’s eye!
- Sky – as this is taking up two-thirds of the painting, I think it needs more drama. So far I’ve been working to my original source image. I think I need to ad lib a little more to create some more interest but to maintain the sense of distance and of light.
- Distant hills – paint in one brushstroke
- Treeline running full width (going from mid distant to far distance and back again,) – paint more economically
- Main tree – more daylight, more drama, more sensitivity
- Foreground – I’ll aim to paint the meadows in a maximum of two washes
In a way, these were all things I tried to do in version 3, but obviously not very successfully! I promise that, whatever happens next, I won’t bore you with too many more versions of this.
If I don’t manage to paint one that I’m happy with very soon, I think I’ll have to carry on painting this in the background and try not to bore you with the process!