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Evolution of a Painting

It started with a quick sketch of a very colorful house (green and orange) I saw by the side of the road in Antigua.  I included the sketch in an earlier blog, but what the heck … here it is again.

Green and Orange

Green and Orange

I loved the colors (it’s why I did the painting, afterall), but something about it bothered me.  The green was almost all on the right side of the painting and the golden orange line almost divided the painting exactly in half (a big no no).  And all that dark blue on the left was too strong.  An artist friend suggested I crop it, that the right and left sides of the painting didn’t really make a coherent, integrated whole.  I tried it and liked the result. (I also turned it upside down, which might have been a mistake.)

Green and Orange II

Green and Orange II

So then I tried doing it a little bit larger (always an adventure) and turned it back right side up (although I’m not sure how you could tell … other than by where I put my signature).

Green and Orange III

Green and Orange III

Better, but no cigar.  The dark blue still looked too strong.  My eye kept going to the three dark blue blocks in the center and not moving around the painting. And I missed all that wonderful orange.  So…

If at first you don’t succeed … (someday I’ll tell you how my mother finished that sentence…)  So I tried it again, larger again, and this time on Yupo (the plastic “paper”).

Green and Orange IV

Green and Orange IV

This version is a little better balanced:  dark blue in three corners, but not the same intensity or size (amount); I eliminated the dark blue vertical on the left and blurred a lot of the previously hard edges, letting the paint run around on the Yupo.

At this point, there is still something missing, but I’m not sure what.  My solution to problems like this is often twofold: first, I put it away for awhile and then come back to it fresh; and second, I’ll show it to my arty-farty friends (my husband’s term)  to see what they think.

Well, I got some very thoughtful criticism from my friends and I’ve started making some changes:  expanding the white in the upper right corner and opening a white path through the painting; providing some diagonals through the softening of some edges and the addition of some artfully placed splatter to unify the painting.

Green and Orange V

Green and Orange V

But it’s still not right…  So, the only thing left to do is to check with Frank O’Cain at the League.  His verdict (drumroll):  I’ve got two very good paintings (the right side and the left side) and I probably won’t be able to unify them because the color is so strong.  His suggestion:  keep this the way it is and use it to create some new paintings.  He thought I might get five to eight paintings out of this approach.  Of course, when I do that, I’ll be creating new problems to solve…

Anyone who thinks a successful abstract painting is easy to create (“my 4-year old could do that”) is crazy.

To quote George W., “This is hard.”

Posted by ruthhurd on September 8, 2011

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