Saturday, September 29, 2012

"Sea Oats" Painting Revisions

     "Sea Oats", a 12" x 16" acrylic painting, is still a work in progress, but I think some current revisions have improved it. The newer version seen above now hangs on the studio wall for consideration. This piece will be part of a special exhibit I will have at Paddiwhack Gallery in Gainesville, Florida in less than a month. In spite of some on-going personal obstacles to getting maximum work done right now, I am determined to complete this painting and one larger piece in time to hang in Paddiwhack's honored front nook for a six week mini-show with other recent works. A previous post showed you the first exhibit I brought to this amazing store back in the spring of 2011.

     Some of you were very complimentary about the earlier version of "Sea Oats" I showed you awhile ago--seen below--but it wasn't quite satisfactory for me. It was too "pink" for my taste (others will differ on palette preferences, of course) and lacked punch. My mentor, Linda Blondheim, agreed, calling it a "pretty enough" picture, but also feeling that it was somewhat bland. 

     So, having added more tonal contrast, a more interesting sky, and more variation in the tones of the grasses and sea oats on the dune, I am happier with the piece. I have also reduced the power of the pink areas, substituting some quiet golden glow. Still am considering some minor adjustments, and may (or may not) change the placement of the birds (which will be sharpened a bit once their location is definite). Since I have signed up for one more week of Linda Blondheim's excellent e-critique, we will see what she thinks of this work once I have one other, larger piece ready for her assessment as well. She is a super teacher and guide and always understands that I may or may not include all her suggested revisions in the final form. As I have confessed to you before, I always have trouble knowing when a painting is finished (or finished enough, given that one could continue revising indefinitely--a process that eventually begins to detract from the vitality and impact of a work). So, Linda's assessment is also tremendously helpful in making that decision to sign a painting, give it a protective coat of medium, and consider it ready for prime time.
Question of the day: In any undertaking, do you agree that the assessment and revision process is almost as significant as the original concept for a good outcome?


  1. enticing just as it is - the grass arrangement adds to movement and it has lovely color balance. And yes, assessment and revision is a harsh process - to balance our confidence and get the paintings up to the next level is a delicate balance.

  2. I thought it was beautiful in the first place, Mary, and I think it is beautiful in the second place too. I'm not sure which I'd choose if I had a choice.

    Anyway, in theory I totally agree with your question of the day. It can prove helpful and beneficial. If it is given with kindness and intent to help (and isn't taken personally, which is a fault I have), it can be a major boon to a piece. That said, I find that since I tend to work in watercolors, it isn't easy to change a piece. Color is often hard to lift out of w/c paper.

  3. Thank you for your insightful comment about the revision process, Robin. I also appreciate your kind words--and your comments on some of the specifics--regarding this piece.

    Hey, Sherry, your encouragement always means a lot to me. I have never taken on the challenge of working in watercolors and greatly admire your watercolor work; it is very difficult to change, I know. I'm afraid I would make a terrible mess of that medium because I rely on acrylics being so easy (most of the time) to paint over. Even a major revision (while never fun after all the work that gets covered) is usually doable in acrylics. Have a good week.