Evolution of a Painting
Back to the rock wall I see every weekend on my way to grocery shopping at Fairway. In fact, there are several rock walls I like: one on route 87 just north of Riverdale, and two near Costco. Getting my husband to slow down long enough for me to get a good look at them and then actually take a picture has been a lot of fun. But I digress.
Here again is my quick watercolor sketch of the one on the way to Fairway.
It’s not bad for a start, but it lacks a strong center. None of the shapes dominate. I probably need to move the diagonals on the left further to the left to expand the center.
So I did three smaller sketches, one of which I like.
I moved the diagonals over to the right side and enlarged the center. Not bad, but I wanted to do it larger and go back to the original composition.
This is much better. It has a strong center, the brush strokes are more varied and there is more of a feeling of depth.
If at first you don’t succeed … actually you often don’t succeed the first time around. Each sketch teaches you something and eventually you get it right.
How may I crop thee (let me count the ways)
I’ve been working on a painting of some rocks I see every Friday when we drive to Fairway for our weekly food shopping. I know, it doesn’t sound very exciting, but the rocks are really beautiful.
I wasn’t very happy with my second attempt (I certainly won’t show you my first attempt). True, the black ink is varied (thick & thin) and broken. All colors are in multiple locations and varied in intensity and there are some very rich and diverse grays. But there is no central dominant shape or plane. And too many of the shapes are the same width (you can tell which brush I used). There is also not much depth.
Moving the two diagonals on the left further to the left would expand the central area, but that would mean a new painting and I wanted to see what could be salvaged from this unfinished painting simply by cropping. So let me count the ways…
Well, this is kind of interesting, the burnt sienna only exists on the right side of the painting, so I’d have to add some on the left … probably around the top. And most of the white paper is on the left. OK, no cigar, but this is only my first try.
This is better balanced, but it still doesn’t have one dominant shape or plane (although the burnt sienna comes close). I think I’ll keep going. Maybe if I turn it sideways …
Nope. I like the way the ink moves me around the painting, but the burnt sienna takes my eye right off the page … not good.
This is in improvement on version 1, but it still has all the burnt sienna on one side. Never mind.
One last try … rotate it the other way, crop it on the left so the burnt sienna doesn’t drag you off the page, crop it on the right to eliminate the ink blob on the bottom right corner, crop it on the bottom to allow an echo of the yellow ochre …
AARGH!!! It’s not terrible, but it’s not great either. There is still no main central plane to anchor everything.
Turns out that cropping, though I count the ways, doesn’t solve the problems inherent in the original painting. Guess I’ll just have to create another painting (which will have its own problems, of course).