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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Reincarnation – a Painting Reborn

Painting is a process not a destination. You start with a plan and a vision. Through the creative mind and hard work, you either make a mess or magic. If a mess, an opportunity to create something else equally as beautiful.

Original Version

On the FineArt America web site (FAA), an artist recently sold a painting of two beautiful koi fish; white and red koi striking on a dark background. The artist admitted that the original painting had been of two Flemenco dancers dressed in red, but that the end result was less than satisfying.

The real magic occurred when the artist’s eye saw the potential to create something totally different. Accidents happen, sometimes for the best. I’ve discovered some unique and amazing color combinations by chance and experimentation. I prefer to mix my colors on canvas (except for skin tones). You get some interesting, eye-popping mixtures on canvas, and sometimes you get mud. Learning what works and what doesn’t is important.

What if I make a mistake? I simply wipe the paint off quickly and start again before it dries. Currently I’m reworking some of my old no-sale canvases and analyzing why they were not successful. Sometimes the reasons are small and I’ll see potential for reworking them. The painting featured today is one of those. I’m showing the original version, and the “work in progress.”

The original version had an egret perched on the forward bridge rail smack dab in the middle of the painting. Why I didn’t notice that in the beginning is beyond me. I covered up the egret with river water and placed a new egret more to the left. This decision gave me a new title for the painting: “Leap of Faith.”

Unfinished "work in progress"

The original painting seemed blah, to me. I’m trying to pump up the temperature of the colors by adding more yellow and pink to the mix. By the time I’m finished, the painting will have a richer glow and a more interesting composition (I hope). Self-doubt is always the enemy we battle. I look at the original and think maybe I should have moved the egret and left it at that?

What I learned overall is this: never give up on a painting. There is always hidden treasure waiting to be found. Some of the most unique and beautiful abstracts have come from this source. So next time you have a failure of any kind, remember: it’s not the end of the road. It may be just the beginning.