Have you ever finished a painting you were happy with only to find that months, weeks or even days later there are some serious problem areas. Summer Breeze is such a painting.
This painting is a little larger than I usually work, 20″ x 30″, but after two weeks of planning and execution it was finished. There were many things that worked out well,
The gesture of the pose, the expression of her face, the sense of light, but as she sat on my fireplace mantle for several days I started to “feel” there were some areas that needed addressing. It was a “feeling” at first because I couldn’t pin it down enough to do something about it, and I will never go back to rework a painting unless I have a specific change in mind. Enough days had passed, it became crystal clear what was required.
At #1, the strongest shape in the scene. It is very strong because it’s surrounded by dark, is large and is pointing to the left, drawing way to much attention to an area that is secondary,
The shape at #2 is bothersome because it appears to be the same value as the top plane of the skirt, which is the way the photo appeared because of the tendency for photos to blow out the lights. In reality this area would be darker than the upper plane which is receiving more light.
At #3 and 4#, these light shapes take away from the solid anchoring effect of the dark shadow along the bottom and add more attention to an area that shouldn’t receive any.
At #5 I could add a little more information to follow the form of her body and make it more interesting.
All during the painting process I wrestled with that rectangle #6, behind her head. Should I keep it or not. Now I can see, not, it adds a visual weight to the top of her head, which throws her a little off balance.
At #7, stream line her shoulder a little here to soft her.
The lower shadow area #8, could be working harder to stabilize the balance. I want it to create a more solid base for the figure. Even though there was not a supporting leg on the bench in the photo, it was needed to alleviate the floating sensation in this area.
Last but not least, the color needed adjusting. More warmth in the background wall, as well as in her skirt.
I was happy with the changes and glad I made them. It’s never too late to go back and make things better!