Wednesday, February 13, 2013

"MOUNTAIN POPPIES" ORIGINAL MIXED MEDIA ON CRADLED PANEL © SAUNDRA LANE GALLOWAY

"Mountain Poppies"
30" x 20" mixed media on cradled panel
Commission
 
WOW, what a journey this painting has taken me on. This is the final version that made me happy.  I think you are going to have to click on the painting to see the larger version...So, now the story of the different faces of this painting, the failures, and WHY they didn't work...though I feel you can see for your self!
 
VERSION 1
 
 
Here you can see that I had MANY more aspen in this version...the poppy field was being developed, the rocks you can see below were in...it was TOO BUSY...and NOT ENOUGH CONTRAST behind the leaves...they were LOST in translation...
 
 
the aspen in the background didn't work as the leaves didn't read as groups of leaves as I had intended, but giant single leaves...the contrast was ok, but it was too prominent...
 
 
SO, in my attempt to correct the contrast problem and the GIANT leaf problem I decided to paint the leaves in oil...
 


 
The problem with this SECOND version was it was STILL not enough contrast behind the 5 aspen in front; although it was better...but mainly it was WAY TOO BUSY...your eye jumps all over the place trying to find somewhere to rest...and the back aspen just blended in too much...WHEW...look at the extra rocks I even added in the field TOO MUCH...
 
At this point I'm really frustrated! I've now worked on this WAY too long and was loosing my perspective...LESSON...DO NOT OBSESS on a painting...do other things in between...put it away for a few days until you can get your perspective back!  I KNOW this...but yet I did not heed my own lesson...and it brought me to TOO BUSY!!
 
SO, I woke up at 5 a.m. one morning AFTER sending pics to a couple artist friends to discuss it and was reminded of a question an artist friend used to ask me when I was stuck "What is the painting about?" There is always an answer...it may start out as one thing, but you usually KNOW...For me the answer was the poppies up front!  My friend who commissioned me to do this painting had always commented on my poppies...and they were fun and vibrant and up front...yep, it was about the poppies first...and the other things next...SO, I wiped out everything that was oil I had just labored over the days and weeks before...and THEN I couldn't wait for the sun to rise so I could take my sander to the offending parts...my goal was to get rid of most of the trees...so I SANDED it down in areas...and began the long process of wiping out the other trees...Here is my de-constructed piece before I began to paint over areas in preparation for putting this painting back together...
 
 
Notice the two outside trees in front are disappearing and the five aspen in back are beginning to go away...NOTE: I left the painted areas up top of the three remaining trees as I discovered that painting them worked best in this painting...I was BEGINNING!...
 
Next I began to simplify other areas...I decided to make the water just a stream...too much going on in the middle...so I took out the falling water on the rocks...it works better...
 

 


I was all finished, or so I thought, but it was unbalanced...a great artist friend noticed it right away where I might have taken DAYS...as I was beginning to obsess AGAIN...so I put in the one aspen on the left to bring balance back...
 
 
And there you have the story of the Mountain Poppies progression through trial and error...OTHER LESSONS learned...
 
When you have a painting that is in your head...DO MORE STUDIES than you think you need...my problem is, even though I did thumbnails, I didn't think through some issues well enough to work out the problems I had...not enough CONTRAST...TOO BUSY...VALUE STUDIES are key, and I didn't do enough!!  Also, I forgot the golden rule..."What was my painting about mostly?" IMPORTANT...it can't be about all of it!!  and, a great artist friend of mine who also paints alot of trees...in a more abstract way, but still...said...always paint dark over light and light over dark when doing trees...there's that ugly CONTRAST...VALUE thing again...SO TRUE!!  Thanks Carol!!
 
I'm now happy with it, my friend is happy with it, and I can move on...WHEW...I just wasn't going to let this one get the best of me!!!
 
And now, on a sweet and personal note...
 
HAPPY 18 MONTH BIRTHDAY TO MY SWEET GRANDSON PAXTON!! Nana loves you!!
 


 
now isn't that inspirational!! Such a sweet face!!
 
HAPPY CREATING!
 
 



3 comments:

martinealison said...

Ma chère Saundra, je suis heureuse de vous retrouver après mes longues semaines d'absence... Je rentre d'Afrique...
J'aime énormément cette dernière oeuvre qui vous a fait souffrir! Merci de partager avec nous les différentes étapes... Le rendu final est MERVEILLEUX !... tout comme cet adorable bambin !
Gros bisous à vous deux.

CrimsonLeaves said...

And he has a cleft in his chin...Tom Selleck...Cary Grant...Kirk Douglas...sigh...Gorgeous boy!

Love how your painting ended up but I confess I like version 1 as well. I think it is because the colors of the poppy field are mirrored in the tree leaves, which to my mind provides a nice balance as well. Either way it is beautiful!

Saundra Lane Galloway said...

Thanks CrimsonLeaves.

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