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!