Is there a painter out there that hasn’t struggled through the start of one painting or another? Or struggled through the middle of it to push through the awkward teenager stage? Or lost steam towards the finish and petered out? Have you felt the let down of finishing a painting, even one that turned out better than expected? The let down of finishing and then looking ahead to a scary new blank canvas? Uncertain about whether or not you can do it again?
I read a post yesterday about a watercolor artist that painted the same image 6 times to get it how he wanted it. I understand that so well.
The struggle is real. 2 days ago I started this beach scene. I struggled with the composition moving one of the figures to 4 different locations until it finally felt right. When I first drew it out I was sure I wanted the girl with the light blue shirt to stand on the far left front and center. But when I had it all sketched out with the initial blocking in of color, something wasn’t sitting right with me. The 3 figures across the front were perfectly spaced and creating a diagonal eye line off in the wrong direction. The diagonal feel of the water moves from bottom left up to the right. But their heads created a line from top left to bottom right. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but something just wasn’t right. Also, she was too close to the edge and blocked you from moving into the painting.
Composition is like that isn’t it? When you see a good composition it just feels good and comfortable, you move right in, your eye moves to the intended objects, and all is well. But when something is off, it’s off and it’s hard to put your finger on what it is.
So then I moved the little guy in yellow in the back over to the other side and put my girl back where he is. Then moved her down an inch. Then moved her to where she is currently. I’m going to keep her there for now to see if she gels.
What do you think?? More breathing room now? More space?
I always take pictures along the way because I can see the whole composition better and all at once when the image is tiny on my phone. So here she is in the other locations.
I talked with my friend who is a wonderfully well respected artist about the composition and we decided that this is a good placement of the figures.
My son is playing a beautiful piece by Dussek right now. He practices the piano every morning while I write my new posts.