A Frequent Question

A question that frequently surfaces during my watercolor workshops is “Do you ever re-work your paintings?” The answer is definitely a resounding ‘yes’. While working on a painting it is not uncommon for an artist to lose sight of the ‘big picture’ and become engrossed on completing the painting exactly as pre-visioned either in a photo or a value sketch and not standing back and taking a good look at the completed piece. Even then, one cannot immediately find a solution to a puzzling question.

ORANGES is one of my paintings that has been selected to appear in three watercolor exhibitions yet I never felt totally satisfied with the finished results. Three exhibitions tells one that the painting has some merit but to me, the artist, I always felt it could be better. Just recently, I was looking back over some of my paintings and I once again took ORANGES off the storage shelf in my studio. The storage area is somewhat dimly lighted and that showed me the problem immediately. In the dim light a strong sense of ‘zing’ was missing – every thing looked the same due to lack of focus through contrast.

The painting instantly came out of the frame and the re-working began. Making the drastic change I envisioned is always dangerous as I could easily have ruined a good piece of art. I had only a single shot to do what I wanted to do. A misplaced brush stroke, an unwanted splash of paint or simply running out of color during the process would spell disaster.

Below is the before and after versions of ORANGES. Enjoy!

ORANGES before

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