|Sunflower Stages, Oil on canvas, 14 x 11 inches|
There are tons of rules about painting. You learn them in classes, from books, but the ones best remembered are from experience. That is why I say every painting is a learning experience, no matter how long you have painted.
I am going to share one of these with you. Yesterday the sun was shinning, the sky clear and my sunflowers looked great, time to set up the easel outside and paint. I grabbed 4 canvases, a pile of brushes and paint and went to work. Each canvas I used a different approach (yes I tend to multi task). The one I am sharing today had a light green base color already on it and dry. As I was looking at the sunflowers, I quickly applied some random strokes to the canvas.
Mistake #1, Composition, didn’t think about it at all. Sometimes that works and it is pure luck, but most of the time if that basic foundation is skipped, like a house it comes crumbling down.
Mistake #2, rule of odds. As I was working on it I put two sunflower buds in it, neither one worked as a focal point. Oh that is right, mistake #3, lacking a focal point.
Proceeded to try and correct this by adding a flower. Mistake # 4, perspective, although they overlapped, the painting just looked flat, the clues to foreground and background were just not happening, they just looked bunched up. So I removed a bud, better, still just not right. At this point I had to set it aside and work on something else.
That is why I always work on more than one painting at once.
Later I sat and studied my problem child and saw mistake #5, not taking into consideration focus. In life when you are looking at something only one area will be in true focus, the rest is slightly out of focus. This error was actually fun to correct, big brush mess up everything that that had too much detail; except for the area I wanted the detail.
At the end I am fairly pleased with this one, maybe because it was a great reminder of rules that need to be remembered. So it doesn’t hurt to keep this things tucked in the back of your mind while painting, just remember to pull them out and use them once in a while.
As Robert Genn said: "I go from move to move--working out the puzzle--until it's either completed or abandoned."
Next time I will share my other big mistake, from the same day, just another canvas.