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Sunday, 23 August 2015

Two rather dull paintings - We must move on!

The problem with remaining stuck in a groove is that the quality of one's work doesn't get better through sheer repetition but tends to slide downhill.

These are two that slid.

I don't believe in hiding the duller stuff from people, because with any luck we can all learn something from the ones that didn't come off - possibly rather more than we learn from those that did.  And you never know, somebody may have a higher view of these than I have: if so, don't hesitate to make me a foolishly generous offer for them.  I'll pack them up with devoted care and speed them to  you.  But if these were by anyone else, I'd find them dull - and in both cases, the composition is the big problem.


In this one, for instance - which started out as a watercolour but has had a bit of work done  ( not plastic surgery, but a touch of ink and coloured pencil) - we've got a rather unexciting subject to start with, made worse by that lump of blue sea which just isn't doing anything.  I don't think that composition was ever going to work, and the fact that it looks a bit like a stage-set isn't helping: it looks like scenery, rather than a scene, if that makes any sense.


The second one, which is all watercolour, is perhaps a little better -  the reason I'm disappointed with it, though, is its departure from the actual scene;  the distant downs are nowhere near as prominent, nor as symmetrical, as I've painted them.  It was, to be fair to myself, a test piece on which I tried a brand of watercolours new to me (daveliou: made in China, available on Amazon.  The paints worked fine, once I got used to them - this isn't the place to go any further into that, but you'll find my review on Amazon UK if interested).  It's also a bit on the "tight" side - a freer hand with the brush might have paid off here.   The distant buildings are out of proportion, as well, giving a slightly weird impression of scale: it would have been better to have left them out.  

Thing is - one lives and learns, all the time: if you make a mistake in watercolour it will show because it's very hard to conceal it; certainly, if you make a mistake right at the preliminary drawing stage, you're on a loser with watercolour because there's so little you can do to put it right.  Better to scrap the drawing and start again: the trouble is, one doesn't always notice at that stage.  Which is a good argument for making lots of sketches and studies before you ever get round to pulling the paints out.  

I've taken watercolour about as far as I can at the moment, certainly on this paper (Fabriano 140lb).  Flogging away at it isn't going to help, so I've bought some more Chromacolour acrylic, and will be painting in acrylic, and oil, for a while.  I'll certainly come back to watercolour: but I need a rest from it for a few months.  (Trouble is, it does tempt you back!)

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