If we had the ability to see the world through each others eyes – it would be life changing. In fact, part of the reason that I am an artist is because I want to better communicate my perspective, my interpretation of reality with those around me. In my mind, my artistic vision, is often as clear as still water. That is, right up until I take my paint brush and swirl it in said water and the image is lost and distorted until I take the time to let it settle again.
I think many people who attempt any type of art feel as though they have failed before they’ve even gotten started. They’ve put their stick in the water and as soon as that vision is lost they’ve given up. Not realizing that every swirl comes back to clear. Sometimes the water clears in seconds other times it takes hours or days.
The painting below is a painting I’ve been working on for months. And while I’m still not done I’m definitely closer than I was in the beginning. In fact, I’ve found and lost my vision so many times that what it started out as looks nothing like how it has turned out. A few times I nearly threw the whole painting away chalking it up to a total loss. I’m glad I didn’t because I rather like where it is going.
The first picture is the first two layers of paint. I was wanting to capture the freshness of spring (at least the colors of spring). I’m not sure of where the city came from. I think I was just having fun experimenting with Yupo paper and acrylic ink.
The changes in some of the layers are very subtle. Just by adding a light wash of light blue helps to highlight the buildings and give dimension to the background.
In the next few layers I made a big jump and I lost a lot of the original color and feel of the painting but my original idea was always to add spring trees and blossoms so I risked losing some of the city scene for my vision.
I tried adding back some of the pleasant blue with the addition of trees.
And… more trees for depth. While I really liked the colors below, I still felt as though I was missing something. This is how this painting sat for over a month. I had to let the water clear after I had seriously muddied it.
A month later…. This is where I thought I had really royally screwed things up. I turned the painting on its side and made a bold decision to add a face. Mostly because I have learned that I really love to paint faces … so I just went with it. I had no idea if I would be able to make the layers work or not. This is the scariest place to be in a painting. You have to go “all in” or you walk away losing everything.
The city scene is now no-where in sight but my original goal of capturing some of the freshness of spring is back. And I’m totally digging the face… her skin tone is starting to get figured out.
Still more subtle color changes. Working out where to add more light and dark. At this point it just feels way too yellow.
I made some more bold moves with her hair , but that lower left corner is really bugging me so I have to figure out how to fix it.
And this is where I am today after starting 2 months ago. I still have a few trouble areas (new eyelashes, mouth, a little shading in the new pink flowers) but I’m also really excited about where it is at. Had I given up earlier I wouldn’t have gotten here. And if I’m being completely honest, I really like it here.
UPDATE!!! I finally finished the painting. I’ve lost a lot of sleep over this the last few days and I’m finally done.
Moral of my painting progression story: All is not lost. Or don’t give up. Or just keep painting.
All of those.