Sunday, March 18, 2018

Best Made Plans Don't Always Work!

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This has been one of those weeks. Busy with art guild and gallery duties, packing, getting ready for a Summer Breeze trip, a little painting and yard work. We are always busy! Retired? What?
1st Mate, Bella on Summer Breeze 
Guild and gallery duties went well, as planned thankfully.
New paint on walls and floors of Studio 151 Fine Art Gallery
The cruise plan was for a week plus long trip up towards Mcclellanville with a quick stop, haul out and repair at the boat yard. That plan ended up with her staying in the boat yard for a major repair which will last several weeks. You can read more about it here, if you want. Best made plans!

When preparing for a painting, I try to plan it out ahead  of time concerning the composition and color palette but sometimes those plans don't always work either. That was the case with 2 pieces of art I had been working on. 

Having someone else take a look at your work really helps. As artists, we sometimes don't see the forest for the trees. It helps to back away and see it with fresh eyes, whether yours or someone else. Bruce will often do that for me. 
On a recent plein air day with my friend, Jeanine Jones, we painted by her home in Beaufort. I had not completed it so I put finishing touches on it and it just didn't grab me. I think I was just trying to finish it and wasn't really thinking about a/my plan for it.(Hind sight). I was with her again this week so I asked for her to help me out with a critique. 
Fresh eyes!

The scene pretty much as we saw it
This is the scene pretty much as we saw it that day, a small creek with tall marsh grasses, a river behind it and the distant marsh bank. I felt it was drab and nothing special. Jeanine suggested that I remove the foreground marsh and fill in with more of the creek. 
Updated version

 I took her advice and made the scene a high tide where the marsh grasses just peak out of the water creating lots of reflections and I also gave it subtle changes in other places. I feel that gives the painting a nice punch and a look at me feel. I'm considering subduing the small bush on the left side so it doesn't take away from the focal point, the larger bush.

After saying that to myself/you here, I decided to get up and go do that. I subdued the darks under the small left side bush, added a few more darks under the right side larger bush and added some dead bush twigs. The creek and marsh lead up to that point and this makes for a better focal point in the painting. Hey, thanks for your help!

At our guild meeting this week, we had the pleasure of having Betty Anglin Smith do a presentation and critique some of the member's work. I had taken one of my Toogoodoo 365 paintings which I had been trying to fine tune. I was pretty happy with it but thought it would be interesting to hear her thoughts even though her color palette and process is very different. 
Again, fresh eyes, remember!
November 29, All is Good!
Betty's critique pointed out that the 3 land masses
(left side trees, distant trees and right side trees) were pretty equal. She also felt the trees could use more color (of course, it's Betty!) and that the foreground water could have more reflections. 
Updated version
I pushed back the distant trees and made the mass smaller. I added some more of the left bank trees to make the 3 masses different in size, also darkening the shadows there as that side was under the dark cloud. I also added more of the sky's reflections in the water giving it a punch. 

I definitely see an improvement in both pieces of art. What are your thoughts? I would love to hear them.

 One of my self critique tools I use is to convert the image to black and white. That is a great way to check your values in a painting. It's so easy to do now with our phone cameras. I try to do this for all my work but I forget, especially for my Toogoodoo series. So, I’ve done that here. If it reads well in black and white, then it will read well no matter what colors you have used.

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