TRIAL AND ERROR

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When writing magazine articles, I usually try to have a nice clean start to finish demonstration, free of  problems or corrections. With this painting, however, I ran into a period of indecision and confusion. Rather than put it aside for something else, I decided to make the eventual solution to the problem the subject of the article.

This article will appear in the next issue of International Artist Magazine.
Sometimes a painting will happily sail along to a certain point, then, seemingly without reason, grind to a halt.  An indecisive moment perhaps, not enough planning, a lack of concentration, who knows? What ever the cause it can be a frustrating and time-consuming experience. Short of putting the painting aside and forgetting it, the best solution sometimes is to plough on fearlessly and see what happens.
This painting, of a small Tuscan farm, was going well right up till it was almost finished. For some reason I was not quite happy with the result. I was unsure where to go.  After looking at the painting for a couple of weeks I still could not put my finger on what the problem was. The only solution was to try out a few options – play with it till something started to emerge.
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Mixed Media on Canvas  1200×1200
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My rough thumbnail sketch certainly was rough, but I was happy with the composition. The old Fiat tractor eventually snuck its way in, off to the left of the farmhouse.

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Initial drawing was done with a charcoal pencil and the first big areas of paint were roughed in with a 2″ brush
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A little more modeling took place, then a few dark shapes were added. So far, so good!

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Perhaps this is where things started to get confusing. Too much color too quickly. I threaded some strong green through the top of the painting then, rather than trying to subdue it, attempted to counter the green with strong reds and pinks.After much head scratching I decided to knock back the pinks and put more light into the large foreground. The single dark shape in the immediate foreground was causing distraction and not really saying much. It needed a little more definition and a stronger link to the main focal point.

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The foreground was broken up with the suggestion of grape vines. Not too much detail – just enough information to add some meaning as the eye moves across the foreground. The line linking the foreground to the focal point was also strengthened. The pink roof was changed to a more terracotta color just to see the effect.

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Not happy with the warm terracotta roof I decided to go back to the cooler pink. After much trial and error, I finally found a balance between the pink and green. Working the pink from the main focal point down the curve of the road and into the foreground.

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This detail shows the vegetable garden put in with a combination of fine acrylic lines painted with a rigger brush, charcoal pencil marks and areas of colored acrylic. Although many of the details are repeated, I have varied their color, shape and tone to keep the detail interesting.

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The building detail shows how the loose, spidery charcoal lines add a sketchy quality to the areas of detail. The small patches of cool green and blue add interesting relief to the areas of warm color.

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Next to the masked roof of the shed is the old Fiat tractor, barely suggested with roughly scribbled charcoal pencil.

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JOIN ME FOR A WORKSHOP IN ITALY THIS MAY.

Discover the spectacular beauty of Sicily and Sorrento
MON. MAY 17 TO SUN. MAY 30, 2010

This workshop offers 14 days of painting and adventure. Starting in spectacular Sorrento, the entrance to the Neapolitan Coast then traveling to  Sicily, Italy’s most historically cosmopolitan region surrounded by the beautiful blue waters of the Mediterranean.

Click here for details

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6 thoughts on “TRIAL AND ERROR

  1. that is amazing. i love that you showed your struggle. i get to that point often in things that i work on. probably because of a lack of planning ahead. its just not in my nature to plan ahead. i let things sit sometimes for years! your painting is beautiful.

  2. enjoyed this presentaion immensly .For sure you are amaster artist and I have been watching your vidios over and over

  3. a beautifully revealed process of exploration. cool.

    – just so you know, i’m adding your blog to one of my blogroll areas. if you’d prefer not to be there, please let me know. thank you. – aloha – Wrick

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