There is something to be said for hanging on to work that seems to be going nowhere. Can a lingering painting be revived?
This is a quarter sheet (11 x 15″) watercolor that was in a stack of unresolved pieces that occupy a drawer or two in my flat files, an Elephant’s Graveyard where works on paper (quite a few) are exiled when they refuse to stay airborne. Sometimes they see daylight again and come back into usefulness as the backside of a demonstration piece or practice sheet.
Makapu’u -End of the Beach 11 x 15″ Watercolor
This painting was probably started around three years ago from a plein air trip to this end of the beach. It caught my eye the other day…I remembered giving it up as being rather dark and unappealing. I was originally trying to go after the colors in the water using the darkness of the cliffs as a foil but didn’t feel it had a sufficient exit for the eye and lacked variety in the color.
Approaching it as a stranger now, I could see that with the addition of a few minuscule adjustments I could possibly bring it back to life. I lifted some paint for figures to provide some sense of scale, lost some edges, and deepened a wash or two. Not more than 30 minutes effort.
The lesson I take from this is that it’s sometimes good to work on multiple pieces and move from one to the next. When you reach an impasse or lose your enthusiasm….just give it time. There is no expiration date on a painting if the underpinnings of a decent idea might be lingering, waiting to be revived.