I recently completed a landscape painting and hated it. As I so often do, I’d managed to make a lot of mud. My colors were dull and uninteresting. I had only a limited range of values. I sighed, set it aside, and moved on to other paintings.
From time to time, though, I looked again at my landscape. There were several things I liked about the painting. I loved the sky. I liked the general composition, and I even liked some of the trees and trunks I’d painted.
Could I do anything to improve upon the painting? Oh, yes. Definitely.
Well, let me re-visit that statement. While I recognized that there was much room for improvement and that many changes could be made, the question was whether or not I could successfully figure out what changes were needed and how to make them.
So, I kept looking at the painting. I tried to IMAGINE — my key word for 2020 — what it could look like. And then I took a deep breath and set to work with a bit of tweaking.
“Tweaking” is in itself a fun-sounding word, and as an artist, I’ve learned that tweaking certainly can be a lot of fun. When I’m tweaking, I’m starting with a painting I don’t like, a painting I’m disappointed in, a painting that isn’t all it could be. Of course, that latter statement could well be said about all of my paintings, but I’m learning. My paintings are getting better, I think.
The point here, however, is that for me, “tweaking” is founded in freedom. With a painting I don’t like, I have no qualms about trying different things. After all, I can’t hurt it! Maybe I won’t be able to make it better, but I certainly won’t make it worse. Or, if I do make it worse… well, it doesn’t really matter anyway, right?
I’m still “tweaking” this landscape painting, so hopefully in coming days it will look better and better. Although I don’t have photographs of how it looked before, the tweaking I’ve done so far has definitely improved the painting.
I like the colors in this painting. That was the key factor that made me want to “save” this landscape in some way. I like the overall shape of the trees, and I like the deep shadows I’ve added. I like the bluish tones I have, and I like the way they contrast with the orange skies.
I will keep tweaking. I’m working now to create a proper “feel” for light and shadow in the trees. With some tweaks I go too much toward the light side; with other tweaks I get heavy-handed and over-do the dark areas. Yet all the while, I’m having fun.
It’s good to play with colors, good to play with lights and shadows, and good to just jump in with a painting I’m not happy with and see what I can do to it. I’m not yet satisfied with this landscape, but I intend to “keep on tweaking” just to see what I can do.