What to do When a Painting Goes Wrong

I was hesitant to write this blog post for a number of reasons. For one, I wasn’t sure what to write about after last week’s blog, and for another, I wasn’t pleased with how my painting turned out. And so I didn’t really want to post photos of a painting I wasn’t pleased with. Despite the many hours I put into this painting, it didn’t look like the painting I was copying, Girl with a Pearl Earring, by Vermeer, ca. 1665. I researched Vermeer’s techniques and palette colors online, practiced my sketching, both freehand and with a grid. Painstakingly¬†I mixed up the paint colors and compared my color mixtures to the reproduction images of Girl with a Pearl Earring. And yet, something was off…Was it the colors, the painting techniques, or the drawing that was wrong?

So I took some time off and made some revisions to the color choices and the drawing. And I am still not pleased. I feel I have not captured the “look” of this painting. So I am giving myself permission to start over, from scratch and not try to keep “fixing” the old painting. Meanwhile, this process has made me think of the question, What should you do when a painting goes wrong? Should you, trash it, start over, cut it up into smaller pieces and create something new, make it a mixed media piece, take a break, etc? To investigate this topic, I did a google search and looked up a few articles. One article that stood out for me was, a blog post from Painting My World: Daily Pastel Paintings by Karen Margulis PSA: What do you do when a painting goes bad? Thursday, January 19th, 2012, http://www.kemstudios.blogspot.com.

The artist and blogger Karen Margulis listed a few tips for revising a painting that isn’t going in a direction that you like. Some of her tips include 1.) thinking about what things you want to change in the painting, 2.) Take the paint completely off of an area you’d like to change, 3.) take a drastic measure, such as painting a wash, and 4.) Use a viewfinder and crop out sections that you like. Source: Margulis, 2012. How about you? Do you have any tips to share about what to do when a painting goes wrong? As for me, I am starting over again from scratch, starting with the drawing of Vermeer’s, Girl with a Pearl Earring, ca. 1665. After taking time away from the painting, two things stand out for me that bother me about this painting, and they are the drawing inaccuracies and the skin tones. My version does not resemble the original girl’s features and the skin tone looks washed out instead of glowing, like the original.

Vermeer Copy Secondary Color Lay in
Girl with a Pearl Earring, After Vermeer, Jodie Schmidt.

 

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