Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Original oil painting 18x24"
by Susan Roux
Did you really think I could stay out of this canvas for a whole day? I couldn't.
It took until mid afternoon before I dared return to it. Thank you for all your comments. You gave me courage to calm down and decipher what had gone wrong. I refused to believe my own excuses. "Too old, so I'm imagining things..." No, sorry I couldn't swallow that one.
Its in the mistakes that we learn.
Saturday I travel to Cape Cod to deliver my body of work for the summer at the Blue Heron Gallery. The owner, Roy and I have a great artist/gallery relationship. This winter he decided to hand pick the art for his gallery. Usually we bring him what we want, but he's in hopes that this might help sales in a tough economy. So all winter, when I finished a painting, I send it along to him. And so it was with Rose Cottage...
I was so excited painting it, as you have read in yesterday post. I took my camera to my studio and photographed it before taking it off the easel. I ran upstairs to my computer, downloaded the image and immediately sent it to Roy, stating that the painting, "looks much better in person". After sending it, I turned to view my painting. This is when I realized the dilemma I wrote about yesterday. Everything looked different and the painting seemed ruined!
On no! And here I had just sent it to Roy.
No problem. I deliver in a few days and it always takes Roy a week and a half to respond to my emails. He won't have even seen it...
Yesterday morning as I turned on my computer to write my devastating artistic breakdown post, there sat a reply from Roy. "Yes, definitely bring it to the gallery!"
So as you see, yesterday I was dealing with my own breakdown along with feeling the pressure to revive it to gallery standards. Let me tell you, my head spun around for awhile. Calming down finally helped. What went wrong? I was still trying to figure it out. I know I didn't imagine what I saw. It was there. But what happened to lose it?
Suddenly I remembered adjusting my yellows just before finishing. Cool lemon yellows in my dark areas were competing for attention. I decided to calm them with cadmium yellow. It worked like magic. They calmed and brightened at the same time. I proceeded to calm several spots of lemon yellow. Oddly in my head, I remember thinking my light is all cool, adding warm cannot be right. But visually it had given a better transition out of the darkness, so I never questioned it further.
Could adding cool lemon yellow back to these passages make the difference?
It did. Suddenly the depth in my trees/vegetation returned. With the warm yellow beneath, the transition out of the dark patches wasn't as stark as before. Such a simple fix... I realized I had warmed most of my little dots of light leading the viewer in, causing those to also disappear. So a few more cool highlights and presto they returned!
A bit more adjusting here and there and what I saw in my head, was once again before my eyes. During my class last night, I kept analyzing it further, dabbing a dot or two until I felt it was tweaked to my satisfaction.
I think the feeling of restoring it back to its original feeling was more rewarding than having it all fall into place immediately. Trusting that my instincts and knowledge are enough to pull me through my mistakes is restored. Faith that the light in my studio is still safe for painting is also calming...
I couldn't sleep last night. I wanted to get out of bed and go paint all night. But my days are too busy and I knew sleep was necessary, so I held myself back. Funny how a failed painting can knock your energy but success bubbles it nearly out of control!
I hope you trust in your instincts. Its what makes us so creative. When it all falls apart, its where we have to look for answers. That and blogging...
Thanks for being so supportive.