Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Being right can be great, but sometimes it really isn't.  That's the way I felt today today in painting when Sharon agreed with my assessment of the peony painting shown in last night's entry.  I thought it was overworked and beyond repair, but when she agreed with me, I have to admit I sighed.  She did tell me what I might try (believing, I think, that I had to try and discover for myself that the painting was doomed). 

I did what she suggested, and as she thought, it didn't work.  I had to admit to my self that she was right; the painting was a good lesson but not worth much more.

My feelings were initially that I shouldn't have begun the painting as I had: tracing the photo on paper, painting each petal, each section, separately - almost like a paint-by-number piece, and going dark far too soon (almost impossible to retreat back to pale colors once the darks are in place), and basically not using a loose, watercolor approach.

While all that was basically true, what I came to realize that I almost had to paint as I did to understand how the peony was constructed.  Here is the photo:

and the original painting (keep in mind that I do like bold colors, and deliberately chose the deep reds and purples to add drama):


By painting almost petal by petal, I feel that maybe now I can paint in loose water-color style, using the water as the medium, not the paint. The flower doesn't work - check the photo again.  The typical bowl shape isn't there.  The flower isn't cupped; it looks flat and wide as though all the petal were limp and had opened wide.  

There are other problems,of course, but there are a couple of decent things, too.  The background is very water color-ish, and the leaf mid-way up on the right is fine.

Not much to crow about, is there!

However, that did not deter me from taking what I learned by painting the above and starting over without the tracing and with using a looser approach.  Right now the new attempt is too pale to show up well in a photo, but in a couple of days (I hope), I may have something a bit better to show.  Even if I don't, learning took place (as D, the educator, would say).


  1. You are much to hard on yourself. I love the painting.

  2. Thank you for saying that Est! I looked at it yesterday and didn't think it was so bad. But I had caught up on a week's worth of Emails. Today I'm looking at it again and saying, it's no where near as bad as what NP made it sound like. I think it's pretty.