This is a post about a pile. No, not a pile of shoes or laundry (I do have those piles, too) No, this is a pile lurking in every artists' space that sits silently in the corner, collecting dust and cat hair. It is called the "reject" pile of art. It's the art that started out with the best of intentions, much excitement and enthusiasm, but somewhere along the painting journey when I took the artistic road less traveled by, that road ended up in a pile of purple mistakes and bad hair (that doesn't really make sense, but it will, I promise!)
I had painted "Rachel" a while ago and I decided to give it another try with some new skin tone techniques that I wanted to master. It was coming along nicely and I was feeling incredibly pleased with myself, until.....
This. I was feeling extremely excited that her skin tones were blending so nicely, however, somewhere between laying down the skin tone wash and then starting the hair, something started to go wrong with the whole thing.
At this point, I started thinking that...hmmm...the hair is curly, but it's kind of looking TOO curly, like a wig. What to do? Looking back, I think I should have stopped here and not attempted ANOTHER skin tone wash, but of course, I DID start another wash...oy (this is the point where I started down the road less traveled by...the road of how-many-washes-of-skin-tones-can-I-get-away-with) Yes, that road. It's a dark and scary road and I don't recommend vacationing there.
Now, at this point in the painting, I think I should have just abandoned the whole thing, but I was determined to fix it and by golly, it'll be a masterpiece! Heh heh...I laid down another wash into the background and the colors were just not working. I started trying to fix the hair and then the artist's obsession hit me. I just couldn't stop! It was like an addiction. I HAD to make this work. (any artist that is reading this is now chuckling to himself/herself because we've all been there now, haven't we!?! Admit it....It's okay!) I should have just walked away at this point and left it for a while, but you know of course, I didn't.....such is the nature of the addict.
So, at this point, I'm working on the clothes and I'm not really sure of where I'm going with the neck line of the shirt b/c I've NEVER seen a shirt neckline like this one, have you? In real life, it would be a mother's nightmare to iron. In between strokes, I'm banging my head on the table (not really) but wanting to! The hair is looking more and more like a cheap wig and I'm deepening the skin tones, adding too much purple and then trying to compensate by rewashing and flesh tones onto it. Why do I do this to myself? *sigh*
Aaaaand, as you can see, I lost the luminosity of her skin tone, the hair is a wreck, the background looks like a tie-dye t-shirt nightmare and it's just bleah. There's too much purple, I'm thinking and the child looks too chubby, I could go on and on. SO, for all of you art junkies, don't let the painting addiction drag you to the brink of insanity, the point of no return where the purple is washed on and there's no going back. Don't continue past the point of inevitability! There's no fixing it or going back! This is definitely going to go into the "lesson learned" pile, but don't be afraid of that scary pile! Even though it sits there and silently mocks you with it's misplaced colors and over washed tones, that pile is actually your best friend! Through those failed paintings, you have learned much and even if your next attempt isn't successful, it will still be a bit better than the last one. Keep painting!
© Copyright Cady Driver 2016 - All Rights Reserved
I'm a wife and mother of four kids. I homeschool, paint, run, and garden! I am always interested in digging truths out of Scripture. Here, you'll find my thoughts on art, adoption, gardening, mothering, homeschooling, books and whatever else is on my mind. Enjoy!
Creativity doesn't exist in a vacuum - like skepticism, it's a means, not an end. It cries out for a theme. To treat creativity as an end in itself is to assume godlike character for humans as though they could create ex nihilo. -J. Cheane