Iron Gate (Revised), 8 x 6, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2016
Sometimes I feel the need to revise a painting. This inevitably happens when something is a bit "off" and it just keeps bugging me until I do something about it. Of course, my goal is to notice these things when I am in the process of making the piece, not days or weeks later. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes days or weeks to realize what is bothering me. This is one of those pieces, and I thought it might be interesting to talk about my process of making changes.
Problems/Solutions in this piece:
1) Problem: The wall had an odd notch in it; and even though it was true to what I saw, it didn't make sense in the painting. Solution: Removed the wall notch!
2) Problem: The cypress trees were too dark and looked flat. Solution: Intensified highlights on trees.
3) Problem: The foreground didn't lead "in" as much as I wanted it to. Solution: Added blue flowers in the foreground and popped highlights on gate and lamp. This brings the eye to entrance of painting.
Here is the "Before" and "After"
Reworking a painting:
1) Wait till painting is dry.
2) Wet the entire painting with linseed oil, then buff it off. This restores luster of dried pigment and allows fluidity for application of new paint. (If you use Liquin or some other medium, you would use that instead. Refined linseed is my only medium, so that works well for me.)
3) Mix the same colors that are in the painting and make changes area by area (test in small areas first.)
4) For the wall: I mixed wall color and painted right over the dry trees behind to remove the notch. Then I added highlights to new portions of wall.
5) For the cypress trees: I started with the original color of the tree and re-painted that base color. Then I modified the new wet layer with my highlight tone.
6) Blue flowers and highlights: I mixed the colors and laid them in with a liner brush. Extra linseed oil makes the paint flow better from a liner brush.
7) Newly painted areas will dry dull (oils "sink"). You will need to oil out the painting when it dries again.
As an alla prima painter, I prefer working wet into wet. This approach allows me to modify a dry painting without loosing that alla prima look. Often, just a few small changes make a big difference. I like this little painting so much more now! :)