Saturday, September 26, 2009
Still another little trick
Here's a picture I am working on. It is unfinished, but I may post a picture of it finished. One of the things I have been doing in this blog is posting step by step pictures of my paintings as I make them. It is a lot harder than I thought it would be for a couple of reasons. First, I get all hung up in the painting and forget to take the photos, that has happened several times. But the number one thing that has made it hard is this. When I get the photos open in photoshop it is obvious that I have not moved smoothly to the completion of the painting. I am embarrassed to post them. I have sometimes reworked an area several times to get it right, and the photos show that. I look at the photos and think "it looks like I haven't a clue what I am doing".
If I were a studio guy,and sometimes I am, I might make a finished drawing on the canvas before I started to paint, but as I am usually working outside I tend to just lay it in. I do usually do a monotone study under the painting (grisialle). So sometimes the painting looks OK in the end but my path their is less linear than I would like. Painting is really hard for me and getting harder. I sometimes stumble across the finish line.
Here's the little trick. I have done a lot of advertising over the years and been reproduced in magazines and on postcards. I was often surprised when I saw my work reduced, that some dumb compositional problem or an error in drawing jumped out at me. The painting looked fine to me until I saw it tiny, and then I saw the problems. After having the unpleasant experience of discovering a painting I thought was good, look horrible shrunk down, I began photographing them myself first and looking at several paintings I had, to see which ones looked the best in miniature. I would often find that as soon as I saw the little photograph ( from the developer in those days) I could quickly fix the paintings problems.
That led me to this practice. I photograph and print out small images of the paintings I am working on. I print them perhaps 2" by 3" and look for problems. I virtually ALWAYS find something. So tonight's little trick is this. When you are nearing completion of a painting, print out a little photo of it and see what it looks like in reduction. Just like looking at your work in a mirror, it will give you a fresh eye, and a chance to spot flaws that you didn't notice full size. I haven't a clue how it works!