It took me years to realize that permission
to change things was granted when
I picked up my "artistic license."
I love to look back on my own process and see where certain decisions got made about the direction of a work. Somethings can be changed as the closing marks are laid down but some decisions get made right up front.
photo of a parkway overlook, cropped by folding
I liked the shadows in this photo made by the light coming through the trees. But I made some executive decisions when I laid out the piece in a black/white/grey underpainting.
Already you can tell that I wanted more sky and background and that the brightest lights would be in the sky, the edge of the largest tree and then to the road. I liked this layout and really thought it worked fine as executed. The bits of orange I was trying to leave were from a painting underneath. As I choose my final color palate however I decided not to leave them. (Perhaps I should have stopped right here?)
I did ok keeping my middle tones together and laying out where I thought I wanted the lightest lights to go.
Then I lost all organization and decided to abandon the piece for a bit. I had lost most of the original lights and the darks were mostly a blackish brown which was not very interesting. I began to lose interest when I realized I had not kept the light areas connected as they originally were.
NOT looking at a piece for a while can be as helpful as taking the time to look closely. I would occasionally set it back up on the easel and play around a bit never really being totally satisfied. Keep in mind that the reason it has blue tape around it is because I was painting it in the frame. Yes! Not something I suggest you try at home but I was experimenting on top of an old piece that I could not remove from the frame so what the heck...the fact alone made me willing to take some chances.
finished? for now.
So I'm done. I think. It changed a lot and I still believe the foreground could use some simplification. But nothing ventured, nothing gained. I used my "license" not only for permission to change the reference photo but for using up the surface of another painting. I don't think I made a silk purse out of a sow's ear but I do want to use this reference again in a different palate - I believe my rehearsal was well worth the time. I may even take a white marker and redesign bits of it just for future use. And, while you cannot see it here, painting on top of another piece made for a very interesting texture. Onward....
Using My License to Practice (art),