Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Critique vs. Gut Feeling

...and sometimes, you should just not listen to your husband.

Remember I shared with y'all that The JohnnyB had some comments about the portrait I did at the Salminen workshop? That the forehead was protruding, and there was a bold spot on the left temple.

Well, it did not bother me.

It did not bother others who saw the painting.

In fact, I was soooooooo proud of the luminosity and pureness of the white shape; I was at awe that I have actually managed to maintain its virginity and not screw it (OK - minds out of the gutter, everyone! I am talking about a white shape, for heaven's sake!).

But last night, I decided to listen to The JohnnyB.

At 1am, I started to do some changes, intermittently using Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to lift some of the whites and a brush to paint around some of the white shapes in order to make them more approvable by the JohnnyB.

Big, MAJOR mistake.

As once you go into a painting that is pretty good and at the stage it could be ruined, you need to seriously consider what you are about to do.

And, as I have learned more than once, if my gut feeling and The JohnnyB say contradicting things, well - my gut feeling is right. This is what I tell a lot of fellow artists, this is what we always tell each other.

And yet - I chose to hush my guts.

And I regret it, deeply, as that is what it looks like right now.

And I can only blame myslef. (which makes it all even more annoying!).

Y'see, while the magic eraser indeed lifts the color very efficiently, it is not a time machine. Nor is it Superman. Thus, it does not bring back the pure white of the paper. What it does is create a shape that has an opaque-ish residue of the paint. This can be a beautiful effect, but not when you want a glowing pure area. AND it bruises the surface a bit, so now you have a different texture that - when painted on - stands out.

I know, this is all very "Duh!". But don't be so smug - if you're a painter, you know very well that once you have a brush in your hand, your left brain shuts down and all logic and common sense take a backseat to the right brain that cheerfully rushes forward with a stupid grin.

The thing with watercolor is that you can never get back that pure white. If you want to have the white of the paper showing, you have to save, protect and guard it with your life. Hmm.. maybe that's why I hardly ever have white in my work - with my style of painting, the chances of me leaving the white of the paper untouched are slimmer than a super model.

So now, with a partly erased eye, a scrubbed face and a lost glow, Salminen looks like he is about to cry. I almost did!

Went to bed, totally pissed (as the most annoying part is that I can only blame myself!!!), and in the morning informed WackieM that I am going to shove my head in the oven, as I have destroyed the painting. I also wrote why I did it.

She gave me some helpful advice about situations when you have a good painting that you think of changing, then comforted me with the it's-only-a-piece-of-paper mantra, and then provided me with the sentence of the month, as she wrote:

"When is The JohnnyB going to take Mike's class? Seems like he is itching to paint".

And that well-sharpened sarcasm is worth it all!

1 comment:

JohnnyB said...

I think it looks better now!