Rescuing a Painting

"Pangaea" 14 x 18 in.
Acrylic and oil pastel on flat canvas
Click here to purchase (or see large)
Some months back, I began a painting with acrylic (using a palette knife) on some flat canvas.  I blocked in the large forms and basic lights and darks with the knife, and liked the simplicity of the first stage.

I tried some chalk pastel over the acrylic, to highlight the thick textures and brighten the piece.  I had put a great deal of yellow chalk over the paint, liking the brightness but unsure that it felt right.

Then I got sick.  Brutally, miserably sick with nausea for a couple of months.  Every time I looked at the painting, I didn't like the color choices I had made (all that yellow began to take on a sickly feel with the green and purple).  Finally, I put it away, because looking at it reminded me of how sick I had gotten when I was in the middle of working on it.

I didn't forget about it though.  I knew it had started off strong, and that it just needed a fresh take and a different direction.  So, this week I removed all of the chalk from the piece and started over with the acrylic base.  I opted for oil pastel this time, and what a difference!  I also decided to get rid of most of the yellow, and go for more harmonious greens and blues.  A touch of some hot red-orange gave a little contrast, and the piece was quickly finished.

Now, I'm happy to look at it.  It reminds me that although I've had a lot of setbacks in painting these last months, I can still go back to a piece and give it the treatment it deserves.  The inspiration to paint is what starts the process, but it's ultimately the willingness to dig in your heels and bring a piece to the desired result that makes an artist successful.

Thanks to two weeks of high humidity and temperatures and a kid with the flu (not to mention being barely able to waddle around as I hit the third trimester of pregnancy), I'm still in baby-step mode when it comes to getting any painting done.  Hopefully the worst of summer is over and fall will soon be on its way.

If you like this painting, check out my land and seascapes gallery on my website!


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