As time goes on I learn and expand my skills and understanding. I often look at an old painting with new eyes and wish that i had done some things differently.
This is the case with my painting Majestic Entrance. This work was done for a show at Monmouth University arranged by Scott Nickerson. One of the painting I did for the show, toward the end of 2010, depicts the entrance to the majestic colonnade outside of Wilson Hall. The painting as completed in 2010 is shown below.
However, as time went on there were certain things that bothered me about the painting. Particularly, the composition seemed to be in to isolated sections, the complex fountain archways on the left, and the entrance to the colonnade on the right. Both of these had a lot of detail. However, they were separated by a background section that had little detail. Originally I had left the background with little detail in order to let it recede into the background. However, with time it seemed to separate the paintings with an inconsistent barrier.
After working on recreating a number of master works by the likes of Gerome, Vermeer, Cot, and Bougeoreau, I appreciated how details if handled appropriately do not distract, but can greatly integrate a composition.
Another area that I have really worked on is the painting of the sky, and the integration of light throughout a motif. Note in the image above the sky has little character and the concrete appears to be too warm in tone for the bright blue light of the sky. There are two issues here. One the photograph is too warm in tone, but the painting itself, while not quite as warm as the photo, is also too warm and uniform. This is true of both the walkway and the facade of the entrance to the colonnade.
I really liked this painting and felt that it was worth the effort to go back and continue to work on it to improve the areas that I have identified.
The result of these efforts is presented in the photo of the "new" painting presented below.
- I repainted the sky integrating a number of colors and textures. I will describe this technique of using the Golden OPEN paints, mediums and the modern pallet of colors in a future BLOG post.
- I glazed the various sky colors over surface of the walkway and selected surfaces of the structures.
- I glazed the blue of the sky over the shadow areas in the foreground.
- I added texture of the stone work over the whole surface of the colonnade, which previously was quite flat and uniform in color and texture.
- I completely changed the structure of the building in the background, giving it a stronger coloration and adding many structural details of the actual building. even though I knew I would be covering most of it with a new tree! Even though it is covered you can see enough of the details to provide a consistent feeling to the motif.
- Also to add supporting details, I added the metal fence in front of the background building. This serves to provide a detail that connects both halves of the painting. Its black edge also helps to define the left edge of the entrance to the colonnade.
- I added a tee behind the left edge of the colonnade to both help emphasize the left edge of the colonnade and to provide an unbroken band of green to tie together the left and right halves of the painting!
- Even though the added tree was to provide a band of green to integrate the flow of the composition, I had to be careful to provide a light dark and intensity difference between this new tree and the tree further back toward the fence. This gives dimension to the motif.
- To further this feeling of dimension, I lightened the receding path with the sky color and lightly indicated the brick pathway that goes off to the left partway back toward the fence.
- I also extended the right hand tree behind the tope right hand corner of the colonnade to further provide a dark to light frame for the structure.
- I improved the highlights on the urns on top of the fountain arches, and put shadows and highlights in the blue painted water basin that runs under the fountains for the length of the structure.