Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Finishing Touch

Sometimes you think you have finished something, but then it just sits there and everytime you see it, it tells you it wants more, or different ! I have a small oil painting like that. See detail from it on left. From the day I painted it, I have wanted to add ONE MORE THING ! Just one colour really. A little bit of sunshine, in form of some cheerful yellow, onto a hill (see photos below for the hill).

Why change that little landscape painting ? First, the sun was bright that day. In that area of the composition, the hill in question almost gleamed from the sun shining on it. Second, I felt I had not been bold enough in my previous colour choice for that hill. I know there were reasons--it was stinking hot that day, a sweltering 42 degrees C by mid morning, enhanced by with a hot wind (not refreshing). Flying insects landed on the painted canvas, and also in dabs of the oil paint on the palette. Trucks whooshed by the country road occasionally, causing a break in concentration. Due to a poor footwear choice, one foot not shaded by the easel got sunburnt horribly (I was traveling there, alternatives were not available that day). I sweated buckets ! A borrowed wide brim hat tried to escape, its string snapping in two in a gust of wind. And I was time-boxed also, with a flight back to Sydney in afternoon. I still had to drive to Adelaide's airport, so I did not have time to finish it then. I had to leave it behind to be posted to me (it was painted in really wet oil paint). So, I could not add in the envisioned change so easily at the time. But I did have photographs taken on location and also my memory of the scene, so I was sure this change should be added in.

The painting has been put in the upstairs studio, so I have just not acted on this frequent (every-time-I-see-that-painting) thought. My oil paints are kept down in the sunroom studio. But since I was finishing the golden roses painting, I was upstairs with it and carried up a palette full of beautiful oil paints, for doing glazing and work with oil paints to finish it off. It all has to dry flat tonight and I don't like leaving that downstairs, lest some pussy cat step in the glaze ! (Bad for the painting and also bad for the cat, whose paws would need cleaning with solvents). So there I was upstairs and late in the afternoon had a bit of leftover, cheerful looking yellow oil paint on a palette, wanting to be used.

I knew exactly where the extra yellow oil paint should go on the small landscape oil painting. Where the sun shined brightly on that hill beyond the foreground hill on the right. I added it in, just as I had been imagining it should be. Plus a few light handed smears of yellow with my index finger, across another hilltop. It took maybe 15 seconds to do. And then I studied the painting. Did this long contemplated change make a difference ? A good difference ?

I have decided the change was good, a step in the right direction. Now, I think the house in the composition shows up much better, now that hill has a bit of definition. The composition has a bit more life to it too. The yellow really did the trick. I am very happy with the change. (new & improved above on left, older version below on right)

Which one do you like better ?

This painting was painted on location in one morning in mid December 2009, in the Barossa Valley area countryside in South Australia. Painted in oils on canvas, mostly using palette knife, but with a bit of bristle brush for back up. And five months later it has gotten a sweep of sunny yellow added to complete it. I would paint landscapes on location again, but will be a bit better prepared for the experience. I always thought hay bales looked easy to paint. I am here to tell you, there could be more to it than it seems !

No comments:

Post a Comment