Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Penguins Finished

"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow..."
                                                                                                           - Kurt Vonnegut

The point at which we left off on the last post.

When last I left you, the penguins were taking shape and the boulders were starting to look more like the boulders in South Africa, but the clock was still ticking away. The worst thing was the more and more I looked at the piece, the more that the lone penguin with his (her?) back turned was bothering me. Hmm.

The joy of acrylics - you can paint over what you don't like!

I decided to eliminate the lone penguin. Luckily it made a very interesting shadow in the rock instead. I continued to develop the boulders and remaining penguins. 

Spot the lone penguin now.

After nearly three days straight in the studio, I was feeling like I might just finish this painting in time to enter it in the show. I put it aside and went frame shopping. Our one and only local arts & crafts store just happened to have a bunch of wooden frames on clearance and I found the perfect one. But you'll have to wait until the painting is done to see it.

Done, right? Wrong!

At this point I was convinced the painting was complete. I loved the rock textures I had created and I felt the penguins looked good enough to pass inspection by an ornithologist. I framed the painting and entered it in the show on time and sat back and waited for the judges to do their thing. Turns out I didn't even merit an honorable mention.

After the show, I shared the painting with a couple of artist friends of mine with much more success under their belts than I. I knew I could trust them for an honest critique. What could I have done to improve the painting? Every single one of them said, "Darken the area behind to penguins."

I took the painting back into the studio and as I was clearing off my desk to get back to work on it, I found my original colored pencil value study. It had the area behind the penguins darkened.

The final FINAL painting.

I don't know if I had stayed true to my original value study if I would've won any prizes at the show, but certainly I would've entered a much stronger piece.


john said...

Your final version of the painting is a strong improvement although earlier versions were not at all bad. Not getting so much as an honorable mention means nothing. Incompetence runs rampant among art judges. Look how the critics completely overlooked Van Gogh's work. They could not comprehend his artistic purity.

Gabrielle said...

Hi John,

Thanks for your wise comment. Sure, a prize would've been nice but I'm so thrilled just to see that my paintings keep improving. No prize can equal the feeling of taking on a challenge and succeeding!

I need to pop over to your blog and catch up on your latest posts!