Too Much of a Good Thing

Do you remember that lakeshore painting I recently completed? Probably not, so here it is again:

It was done for a family member, and while it’s an accurate representation of the reference photo I was painting from, I didn’t feel that I’d created anything memorable, nothing truly worthy of being considered a work of art.

The most notable flaw was the composition, with the shoreline cutting the scene into two equal parts. Neither the sky nor the water predominates.

I puzzled over it a bit, chatted with several of you about the painting, and wondered how I might do it differently if I were painting it only for myself.  I would, of course, move that shoreline. Curious as to how my personal version of the scene would turn out, I grabbed a canvas panel and set out to paint this lake view again.

One of the first changes I made, you’ll see, is to the orientation. I’ve always been fond of vertical layouts for landscapes, so I turned the canvas panel. This, I reasoned, would give me more room to create truly spectacular skies — for me, the most significant aspect of the scene. I kept the distant shore line low, and here’s what I came away with.

Once again, I’m disappointed in the painting. It started out looking good when I first laid in the skies and began adding the clouds. But then I was away from the studio for several days. The painting sat unfinished at my easel until earlier today. I was so eager to get back to painting that I inadvertently over-did things, I think. I wasn’t content to leave the clouds alone but had to go through add more light, then more shadow, then more blue to help with the shaping.

The water didn’t fare much better. I put in reflections of the trees, then realized I didn’t like the greenish-blue tinge that created in the water. In the end I dabbed away almost all of the tree reflections. I probably over-did it with the reflected clouds, too.

Even so, it was fun to be back in my studio — all still dry despite the recent downpours — to grab my paints and brushes and lay on the paint. I have several other unfinished canvases sitting around and I’ll get back to them now. Maybe I can step back and be a bit more restrained in how and where I add my colors.

When painting is fun, it’s easy to get carried away, and I think maybe I had a little too much fun painting this one.

15 Comments

  1. I have a helpful hint. Never use white paint alone. There is no color in it. White is lifeless. Practice mixing tiny lentil sized amounts of titanium white with; alizarin, and cad orange. Make a nice violet mixing equal parts alizarin and ultramarine. Then, tint it up with titanium white to a value similar to your blue sky. Then mix a tinge of this with the previously mixed almost whites, to form clouds. White mixture is top of clouds, with a little purple added is bottom of clouds. Experiment with this. Over and over.

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    1. Excellent advice. I was having so much fun, yep, I was grabbing that titanium white and putting it here, there, and everywhere. It was fun for me, but it sure didn’t do anything for the painting. 🙂

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  2. The beauty of virtual things, is that you can crop that painting to put the shoreline wherever you want. Crop the picture on your phone in a few different ways, then you can use that as reference for the real thing.

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      1. I do have some original pieces of art, either my own, my daughter’s or friend’s, that I’ve coupled with inspired poetry .. I can send you the links if you like or just explore at your leisure

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      2. I was visiting your blog earlier and saw the “Original Art” category, so I plan to browse a bit later this morning after I’ve finished up a few things around here.

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    1. I did have fun, even if I got carried away! LOL. It seemed like it had been such a long, long time since I’d painted skies and clouds. I just couldn’t stop, so I kept adding more… and more… and more. Yep. It was fun.

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  3. there is a scene in one episode of “Grace & Frankie” ( my fave show to binge watch over and over) where Frankie is painting a sky and someone asks “what is that?” She says “i call it “Poodle, with Additional Poodles”..i love that!..lol..

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