Thursday, April 11, 2013

Two steps forward, one step back

Last weekend I worked on finalising the work on the elephants themselves, adding more texturing to the left hand bull and also correcting the trunk, fore legs, underbelly and painting in the left hand tusk on the right hand bull. I then started adding in the foliage in front of them.

I had several photographs of elephants in grassy areas where a delicate pinky purple flower on extended spikes also grew. I liked the idea of this delicate flower being with the elephants adding a contrast in colour and 'weight'. There was also a bush/shrub that grew, I think it is of the genus terminalia.. it has small clusters of grey green leaves and I wanted to include some of that with a few dead stumps of the bush.

So I spent a day painting this in, it all seemed to go well... I liked the way the texture of the plant was being created and I finished quite pleased.... until I stood back. Something was wrong and I couldn't put my finger on it.. so I walked away from the painting and cooked my evening meal. When I came back after eating the meal my first dismayed thought was ' oh no! They're stood behind a hedge!' I thought I had varied the height of the top twigs and branches but... no. At a distance they all looked uniform in height and the dark and light tones were also uniform! Disaster! What was I going to do.. scrape it all off to start again another day or wait for it to dry and adjust t next week?

I had no time that evening to do anything more to it so it would have to wait until next week. I packed up my temporary studio set-up and hung the painting on the landing wall. That evening I walked by that painting a number of times and each time my consternation with it grew... something else was wrong that I couldn't quite see yet. I got ready for bed about 10pm and as I sat in bed watching a bit of TV before I turned the lights off it suddenly struck me... the scale of the bush I had painted was too big for the elephants! I got up and went to look at the painting.. yup.. sure enough that was what was wrong. I stared at it for a few moments... there was only one course of action now... it had to come off before it dried. So out came the palette knife and some white spirit soaked tissues to remove the foliage from the painting. A day's work wasted.. that was because I had wanted to get it finished and wasn't concentrating on the scale aspect of what I was painting on!

So this weekend... I do that bit again.

This is a close up of the top of the trunk on the left hand bull - it shows my looser brush work. Normally I would paint this in with a great deal more detail but I quite like the softer looser feel (for me) to this particular painting.

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