Friday, December 4, 2009

Tweak, tweak, tweak...when is a painting done.

Tweak, tweak, tweak. When is a painting done?

After the quick sketches I did in France, I allowed myself to take my own sweet time on this one while starting two new portrait commissions. It wasn't the easiest. The shiny fabric was dazzling, different types of colored glass from super clear to sea foam frosty, patterned and plain, and the petals of the flowers frilly and translucent. At one point, I thought I might have to give up. But one thing I know about myself as a painter, is if I keep showing up I will get there in the end.

I worked hard to get the flowers finished before they died. To paint a wet petal and leave it. I just don't like working from dead flowers or photos. Once the flowers were in the bag, (bowl?) I relaxed a bit.

I chose the color harmony very specifically around red and green, all leaning toward the cool side of those colors. I geared my whole painting to that backdrop which I bought especially for it. The glass ALL from thrift shops. The flowers from the local market. My focal point was the white flower bending over the vase, the three front flowers in the light with that swatch of fabric on the left. Nothing goes higher in value in the whole painting. I tried to lose edges as wildly as I could in places, carefully in others. Yin and Yang. That is always the delicate balance. Can't all be soft or it is too mushy like pea soup needing some crackers. Can't be too hard edged. I find that just deadly in anything.

This still life is 18 x 24. Fresh off the easel, it will be hanging wet at today's Open House in my studio.

Overall a painting, still life or portrait, is done for me when I have said/painted all that I could with the skill set I have today, not in 10 years. I kinda know now when I reach that point. It can be frustrating to know that you can't paint it any better today - but you will in a decade. Keep chewing at the old bone, like my mentor says.

This holds true for me in a two hour sketch or a still-life/portrait that took many hours.

Come and see this today at the Open House. See if I tweaked it more overnight! Anyone got any toothpick's? I have some bone stuck in my teeth.


Jo Archer said...

This is just stunning! The colour and texture of the fabric is wonderful.

Marian Fortunati said...

Really nice... sorry I didn't see it on Saturday... but if it wasn't snatched up already maybe I'll see it this week!!

I love reading your description of thought and process!

Sadia Hussain said...

Gorgeous! Wonderful rich blend of colors and beautifully painted!

Portrait Painting By Johanna Spinks said...

Thank you, thank you. You all made my day. I did tweak it just a tad more but nothing too significant. It is amazing how much a photo of a finished painting helps to see if anything looks a little off.