Making Decisions and Changing Your Mind

Updated: Jan 21

Thursday Blog Post 12/26/19

Have you ever gone shopping, tried on clothes and because you were tired of shopping or discouraged or wooed by a sales person, you bought something that you really didn’t love but thought you would grow to like it?

Imagine applying that scenario to art. You see a scene or photo that you think is really interesting or you take a photo of an experience that was memorable or even moving and you think it would make a good painting. So you sketch the image that you remember, get your paints together and go at it. But pretty soon, you step back and realize that it doesn’t have the same alure it did when you saw it or lived the experience. “What’s wrong with it?,” you wonder. Why doesnt it look like I remember it?

So you begin to tweak it. A different color here, a different shape there, perhaps a shadow or a little stroke of light. But it still isn’t grabbing you. But the more you work on it the muddier it gets. Then the shapes get distorted because you keep tweaking them until they are no longer the original shape, which affects everything else. AAARRRRGH!

You have now reached a point of decision. When is it worth continuing to try to fix it versus scraping the paint off the canvas or pulling out a new piece of watercolor paper and starting again? This has been my experience this week.

I started on a little interior scene that I thought would be fun to paint. I sketched it, painted it, and looked at it. It wasn’t right, so I played with the color-still not right. I changed the perspective and the drawing a bit but still no luck. I finally came to the conclusion that I had reached the PDR, as my husband used to say- the “point of diminishing returns.” Time to re-group.

So I scraped it completely off and actually almost left the scraped version alone because it might make a pretty interesting abstract painting, but decided to start another painting over the old one. I ended up so much happier. See pictures below of the original version, the scraped canvas, and the cropped version of the painting that ended up on the old canvas.

I can talk another time about the elements that make for a good composition and a good painting. There are lots of books, blogs and you tube videos out there that can give you that information. My point here is to know when you have reached the PDR and give yourself permission to just stop and decide when a painting (or one of those stylish sweater dresses that makes you work too hard to hold your stomach in so you will never wear it) is not worth your time, effort and angst. Step back, re-group, re-assess your goal and your options and give yourself a break. Start a new painting, put the sweater dress back on the rack. There will be others that you will like better, I promise. For now, Happy Thursday and Happy New Year to everyone! See you next week. Please comment, share and like (if you do) my blog and my website. Thanks!

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