That awkward phase…

One thing I have learned over the last few years is that there is always an awkward phase in a painting. There comes a point where you stand back and think “Oh jeez, I ruined it” “It’s terrible” “What was I thinking???!”

I used to give up at this point, throw the painting away, be very down on myself and even take a break from painting sometimes. Now I know better.

Like everything in life, this is just a phase, it will pass!

I have no idea if this painting is finished, I suspect not!

I find that several things help to get over this phase in a painting:

  • Sleep on it, things usually look a lot better after a bit of distance
  • Even if this is an intuitive painting, now might be the time to apply some thinking: is it too XXX? (dark/light/detailed/plain/blue/yellow), if your painting is “too” then apply a bit of the opposite.
  • Look at the painting in a notaniser to see if there is enough contrast.
  • Turn it round.
  • Throw some ink on it
  • Add a big scribble in oil pastel
  • Do something to move it on, and then just carry on!

You can’t always rescue a painting but this works surprisingly often.

I was explaining this to my husband today as I am working on completing six A3 boards for an exhibition and at least four are currently dreadful. “This is normal, sometimes it gets hard, you just have to carry on” I explained. “Much like life” he replied.

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