Posts Tagged ‘part 4’

Catnap in Positano, part 4 – Caught Napping

Monday, July 15th, 2013

In this final part of a 4-part series, I’ll have to seriously evaluate several aspects of my painting.

An artist colleague challenged me to state my original painting concept for “Catnap in Positano.” By not writing down and clearly stating what had appeared obvious to me at the time, I realized I had missed the boat! My intention had been to illustrate the cat’s cool respite in the heat of the brilliant Mediterranean sun. However, the lighting did not appear harsh and hot but soft and diffuse! The shadows should have told the story, but I had not controlled them adequately, so they weren’t telling the story I’d had in mind, as you can see in the illustration shown in my previous post, “Catnap in Positano.”

Sharpening up the soft-edged shadows, increasing contrasts, and adding more detail and missing shadows went a long way in correcting this problem.

130314  Catnap in Positano

This same friend also questioned me about the repeating diagonal lines leading toward the upper right. I wasn’t too concerned about it, feeling that the oblique lines were counterbalanced by the line of the front lip of the planter and its continuation along the shadow’s edge on the wall, the roughly horizontal lines of the cat, and the counterbalancing implied oblique sweep of the mass of geranium heads.

What didn’t disturb him but caused me increasing discontent was the high-value background. After considerable internal discussion I finally concluded that the need to improve the contrast was worth the risk of changing the texture and inadvertently destroying the painting in the process. So, working quickly to avoid unnecessarily disturbing the underlying layer, I rewet the entire background and laid in a strong top glaze of indigo. The deeper value of the background allowed the higher value foliage to convey the sense of sunlight as it hadn’t when the background value was closer to that of the foliage. The result was well worth the risk I had taken. “Catnap in Positano” (#130314) is a better painting for the revisions applied as a result of my wrap-up evaluation.

From this I learned two lessons: 1) I should always write down the initial painting concept to refer to as the painting progresses; and 2) Although I should consider alternative approaches to a problem I should never lose sight of the ultimate goal.

Will there be more changes? Perhaps. A painting is always subject to reevaluation and revision as long as it remains in my studio. What do you think?
I received a wake-up call when an artist colleague challenged me to state my original painting concept for “Catnap in Positano.” By not writing down and clearly stating what had appeared obvious to me at the time, I realized I had missed the boat! My intention had been to illustrate the cat’s cool respite in the heat of the brilliant Mediterranean sun. However, the lighting did not appear harsh and hot but soft and diffuse! The shadows should have told the story, but I had not controlled them adequately, so they weren’t telling the story I’d had in mind, as you can see in the illustration shown in my previous post, “Catnap in Positano.”

Sharpening up the soft-edged shadows, increasing contrasts, and adding more detail and missing shadows went a long way in correcting this problem.