Sunday, December 17, 2017


Self-Critique - can this painting be saved?

I started this painting rather impulsively. All I knew was that the painting would be mixed media, watercolor, acrylic, pen and ink, with collage, on 9x12” canvas.  It began with the idea of the unusual hand pose. That hand position is taken directly from a picture in Nat Geo magazine. It intrigued me. Unusual, yet graceful. I’ve been told that the hand doesn’t seem quite right, but it is actually drawn quite accurately.

I began with a couple of coats of Gesso on the canvas to prep it. After it dried I added some random strokes and splotches of Matte Medium. Next laid out a background with watercolor wash. Where the wash covered the Matte Medium it reacted differently than on the Gesso creating unexpected texture. Then I added tissue for more texture. Next, after everything dried, the whole canvas was painted over with Clear Gesso to seal the background wash and prep the surface for an acrylic layer. I have done this before successfully, but this time there was another variable, the tissue. As I started developing the form and figure the acrylic radically changed value in places. Over saturating some areas. The only thing to do was repaint those areas heavier. The problem was that now the texture and granularity of the wash background was starkly different from thick acrylic. The whole thing started looking odd. That’s where I stopped.

Here is my summary of the top 5 problems:

1) The composition and structure of the painting was not thought through. No value study, no thumbnails. The overall composition is just so so.

2) Not a compelling subject. Of course a good painting can overcome a mundane subject.

3) There’s no interesting treatment of light. Very flat. Not visually appealing. 

4) A confusing combination of surfaces and texture. (more apparent in person).

5) I don’t know what to do with the top left corner. When I started I intended for it to be that way. For a while it looked Ok, but now it seems out of place.

I welcome comments and suggestions.