Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Latvia Laundry - SOLD


Acrylic on 6.5 x 5 stiff linen sheet

This is my VPO entry this month for Latvia, and this little painting has a bit of a story to tell. First off, here is the Google link for this location.

This painting started out as a full, 9x12 piece on the linen sheet. And this is a classic example of "what I see in Google doesn't look good when I paint it!" The foreground tree was overpowering the entire painting, and taking me away from the laundry that I wanted to focus on. I fussed with this painting, redid the sky, redid the foreground tree, redid the building color. Nothing worked. 

I'd sit back & stare, I'd grab the camera to "see what the camera sees" -- it didn't look any better through the lens than it did in person. Then I thought I'd add darker shadows and even added a darker cast shadow of the foreground tree - nope, no good. I tried lighter values, darker values, color shifts. Nothing worked. After spending the weekend on the original painting, then futzing with it the next 2 nights - I decided that it was just not going to work and threw it aside, totally frustrated.

And then a light bulb went on......

I recall a simple class I sat in on where the speaker said "no amount of value or color changes will help a painting work, if the composition is wrong!" Holy smokes - my composition was all wrong! Asking myself "what is the central character in this 1 act play" - I answered "the laundry." Well, you didn't even see the laundry because that darn foreground tree was hogging all the attention. So the painting was never going to work. Ah, live & learn.

And then another light bulb.....

"Stop fussing with the values & colors, and fix the design." How? By cutting it up, of course. So, I grabbed my blade and straight edge, and simply changed it from a 9x12 to 6.5 x 5 -- and poof, I like it now! 

Hopefully I will remember this the next time I have a painting that is "just not working." Before reworking colors & values for the up-teenth time, take a look at the composition - it will probably be the culprit!

3 comments:

CrimsonLeaves said...

Excellent tip and a wonderful crop. Maybe because I used to know a lady who was from Latvia and had spent time in the WWII camp called Dachau, but I am reminded of a war scene here, family trying to get by and make the best of what they have. I love it, Nancie.

martinealison said...

C'est très intéressant ce que vous racontez...
On n'a jamais fini d'apprendre...
Parfois pour un tout simple détail l'oeuvre trébuche !

J'aime beaucoup l'atmosphère de cette peinture car j'adore étendre le linge dehors !! Cela me rappelle les merveilleux moments de mon enfance.

Gros bisous.

Irina said...

You gave me great lesson about composition. And "wow!" about how dedicated and developing painter you are.

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