Monday, August 8, 2011

Problem Solving - Making It Work

Why isn't this working?  Have you ever asked yourself this question?  Or, has someone (wife, mentor, observer, respected artist........) told you that your effort isn't working?

Row on Row, a Beginning

Just what does it mean?  It means that things on your canvas do not look like they were intended to look like.  Your concept is not being rendered.

When you place strokes on your canvas that bothers you or doesn't look true, do not leave it and go on elsewhere.  Sometimes these elements are difficult to identify, poor drawing, colour that doesn't belong, shapes that are off, values wrong and so forth.  These will haunt you until they are made right.  This is because all the elements in your image are interrelated.  If you go back to correct later you often end up with so much to do that you don't bother "I had fun, but I'll have to see if I can save it in the studio".  If everything is off, where do you start to bring it together?

How do these train wrecks happen?  Usually there is no clear concept, or the concept changes continually. I find that many people are impatient and try to finish before starting or going through the one stroke at a time process.  No measuring, avoiding drawing, not seeing but rendering what you think you see.

So, when things do go wrong don't give up, don't put it away so it will paint itself, don't dab at random, don't fake it, don't twist the painting to fit the problem.  Instead go through the process of elimination.  You must make the problem tangible.  The opposite of "it doesn't work".  Your problem (not the painting's, the circumstance's, or the subject's) can only have problems in value, shape or drawing, colour, paint quality, or edges.  So which one is it?  By elimination it might be a value problem.  If you have, or establish, one correct value you can compare the others and make the correction. 

Rockwood Early, 10x12, Oil on Linen on Board

Sometimes it is more difficult and a set of interrelated problems exist.  For example colour passages often have a value error embedded.  or a drawing problem often has edge problems.  No matter, the process of elimination and comparison is the best way I know to straighten out an image.

I'll follow this with a check list to assist in the process of elimination.

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