Thursday, February 1, 2018

Beach Cove Overlook - and reworking a painting

Beach Cove Overlook, 18 x 36 , oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2018
Available at Davis Gallery

"How do you know when you are finished?" This is an often asked question to which I usually answer, "when there is nothing left in a painting that bothers me." This is one that kept bothering me as it dried on the shelf in my studio. Apparently, I was not done with it.

I stared at it for weeks (sometimes these things are hard to figure out) and finally determined what the problems were: 1) the foreground needed a stronger lead-in, and 2) the cove in the background needed to settle into the distance a little better. Below are the "before and after" shots so you can see the changes.



Adding a path was the obvious solution for the lead-in problem, but the cove issue was trickier. Was it the shape? (Yes, too round.) Was it the size? (Yes, too dominant.) And most important - how to fix it? After much thought, I decided to add more grasses to overlap some of the water. It was a scary choice and a bit counter-intuitive to hide a beautiful, natural water feature. 

Well... That small change made the cove more of a sliver, and pushed it into it's proper space in the background. Instant relief! I'm glad I kept at it until it stopped bothering me. :)


Barbara Muir said...

Gorgeous, and I love the discussion of process. I am dealing with an ocean scene and some of the same issues.


Sharon L. Graves said...

I’m glad you kept at it too! If you’re happy - we’re happy. Thanks for letting us in on the process.

Teri said...

Fixes were perfect for this (large!) painting, thank you for sharing it.

Sadami said...

Dear Laurel, thank u for sharing your initial sketches that teach me lot. Your landscapes are different from Australia and my medium is watercolour (portraits and children picutre book illustrator) though, I'm learning a lot from you and admire your approach. Keep up wonderful work. Best wishes, Sadami