7/14/10

CROP AND BURN

This painting is from several years ago. It recently returned home from the gallery and challenged me to rework it. Since it was done with both watercolor and gouache, the challenge sounded like a good possibility. First the garish cool yellows were calmed down. That helped a little but not enough to suit me. Next shapes were quieted somewhat to what you see here.
Finally, after a lot of deliberation, cropping became an option, because the painting had no holding power as it was. The overall pattern of lights and darks was just too weak to keep my attention.
Often when a painting is shrunk down to a one inch size, the pattern of the lights and darks of the painting becomes very easy to read, since all the detail is too small to see. If there is an effective pattern of light and dark shapes, the painting will hold together at any size, which helps to keep the viewer's attention longer. You can see the difference of the major light and dark shapes here of the original painting and the cropped version.



Below is the final cropped painting. Slicing off the busy shapes, even though I really liked them, helped the overall success of the painting. The new and narrower painting now 'lives' in southern Michigan. It found a happy owner on its first debut out the door. HURRAY!

NORTHERN EXPOSURE (previously called POLAR EXTREMES) Watercolor, Gouache, and Fluid Acrylics on 140# Fabriano 30 x 13" Collected

11 comments:

Teresa Palomar Lois said...

Though I must admit I miss the penguin repetition the cropping worked miracles.

Even if you know it's the right decission how do you deal with the fact of having to crop out some areas of a painting that you are attached to? I find it difficult to do and sometimes make the wrong decission just because I grow fond of a particular area of a painting, so I'm interesting in that decission making proccess

AK said...

Brilliant work. No wonder it was picked up instantly.

Billie Crain said...

What a shame to crop those penguins but I see what you mean about the patterns of light and dark. It's less busy, too. It always amazes me how a simple change can so drastically effect a painting.

Joan Sandford-Cook said...

I love what you have done to POLAR EXTREMES. Did you manage to create a slither of another painting with the row of penguins from the top??
No wonder it sold this time round so quickly - glorious shapes, colours, tones and subject matter. Sandy, you are so clever with your layers and shapes.

Ann Buckner said...

Love this painting, Sandy. I like that background and how it brings focus to the bear. Congrats on the sale too!

Sandy Maudlin said...

Thanks, everyone, for your comments. Eliminating a favorite part of a painting is very hard to do. I had to come to the realization that 'less' was MUCH better than all the good parts put together. Cropping tends to be a last resort, but it's a tool to use when it makes the results better overall. That thin strip of penguins doesn't quite stand alone as a painting, although ten years ago, i might have thought it did. I'm saving it to use in a possible future collage, tho. Happy painting to each of you.

Elizabeth Seaver said...

Great tip about reducing the size of the image to see the lights and darks more clearly.

Love the new version--congrats on its sale!

Joyfulartist said...

As the British would say, "Brilliant!

Cynnie said...

and as the Germans would say...wunderschön!!!

poffey4 said...

I am in love with this one....

Teresa said...

Great Pic Sandy. I love the subjects.