Saturday, April 26, 2008

Walk Softly, finished version

Update: "Walk Softly"was sold at the Bosque Conservatory Art Classic in Clifton, Tx. The collectors who bought the painting told me that they loved the painting and also loved being able to follow the creative progress, and was part of the reason they decided to purchase it. ---S.

Hi All,
I decided to put my painting, Walk Softly against the wall for a while and come back to it with a fresh eye. When I look at something for too long, my perception becomes stale and the problems with the painting are tough to see. Even if the problem is a glaring one, you can miss it. Taking a break allows me to see things much more clearly.
When I put the painting back on the easel, I knew what I had to address. The painting was too warm all over, even the greens. There was no difference between the temps in the clearing he was standing in, and the trees behind him. Also, the coloring made the painting too ominous. The subject matter of this weapon is adult enough without playing it up in the colors. Here is the version before I made any changes...

Previous Version

New Revised Version

As you can see, when you compare the new version to the old one, the changes are pretty significant. I made the colors more true to life and believable. I also repainted the blades on the warclub. They had grown pretty big as I had painted on them and were out of scale with the weapon. The other thing I was unhappy with was how I had applied the paint. It's now much more painterly and exciting to look at. Now I can say it's finished. It's a perfect example of not rushing a painting out of the studio. If there is ever anything that doesn't please you in your work, give it time to rest and come back to it with a fresh eye. Richard Schmid advises to never leave anything on your canvas that you know is wrong. Sage advice to be sure. I would add to that.... to give yourself a little time to live with a painting to find out what those things may be. Once you let the painting out of the studio, it's kind of like going to the top of a mountain and releasing a handful of feathers. You can't ever get them back again, no matter how hard you try.

Happy Painting, Steve


Frank Gardner said...

I thought maybe you had given up on the blog Steve.
The changes make this one even better. I do the same thing if I am not sure about a piece. Just walk away from it for a while and come back with a fresh eye.
I was using that quote about not leaving anything on your canvas that you know is wrong the other day and could not remember who had said it.

Steve Atkinson said...

Hi Frank!

Yep, it's been a while since I last posted. I stopped illustrating and started painting full time last February. I've been so busy trying to get myself into a groove that the blog has been neglected. I'm picking it up again and plan on posting much more regularly. Thanks for the feedback on Walk Softly. I'm glad he's done and I'm on to the next one. I've been doing my plein air again and will be posting my new paintings here as I finish them.

Thanks for staying with me.


tony said...

Just the right amount of revisions to improve the painting and create contrast and separation from the figure without overworking it. I also like that you poked sky holes in the greenery to give it some air. Extremely well done.

Also, I really like your pencil drawings... realistic yet stylized. Fantastic!

Steve Atkinson said...

Thanks Tony,
I agree with you in that, those sky holes helped this painting alot. It lightened the mood of the piece, and helped to make the forested area behind him that much more of a real place.

I've always said that I'm a bit of a grinder. I have to feel my way around a bit until it feels right. I don't always have the finished painting fixed in my head when I start. I know generally where I want to go, but I let each painting move around to where it needs to go in order to make it the best I can. Nothing is ever set in stone for me. Except that the drawing needs to be sound, and that, in the end, the color and composition are in harmony.

Thanks for the post!!