draft for landscape

it don’t come easy

when is a picture finished?

I recently had a little discussion with Martha – she is also a painter and runs a wonderful blog – a short discussion on the subject: “When is a picture ready?” In general, I don’t have a problem with this question that often. I paint and paint and at some point, a voice says: let go. All of this is largely a matter of the subconscious.

It becomes more difficult when a picture is being created that has many good parts, ideas, and statements…. but it does not “feel” finished after all. Sometimes I sleep over it and look at it again then at a certain distance. In this particular case, I was satisfied with the sky and with the foreground. And not at all with some other parts.

Both areas are determined by dramatic gestures, the sky in a soft way through the clouds, the foreground hard and pointed, which creates additional tension.

work in progress

To better understand the weak parts I scanned the picture and so as not to be confused by the colors, I did a black-and-white scan. Now the construction was much clearer in front of me and weaknesses, especially with the flow of power, became clearer. After a few sketches with possible solutions, I started working on the painting again.

a step further

And I’m certainly not satisfied. Some parts have gained, but all in all, I don’t think it’s really any better now. Above all, I wanted to add a portion of “mood” to it, but I didn’t really succeed.

The next possible solution would have been to make the foreground warmer and the background colder. But that is so predictable, so “logical” that it gets really boring then.

Before I finally throw it away, I will perhaps file it as “unfinished” and look at it again after a week or two. At the moment I think that a breeze of “unexpected” and a few accents can help. But I have to use those very wisely and skillfully, otherwise, the waste basket will be one sheet richer.

More of this in landscape paintings. Related posting | sketches from the Peking opera


15 responses to “it don’t come easy”

  1. notontherocks avatar

    Do NOT throw that away! Never throw your work away 😱❤️

  2. zettl.fr avatar

    Thank you! There are times when I trow a lot. One reason probably is that I force myself to become better. By setting higher standards I need to improve. But sometimes I just put it away for some time and throw it away later 🙂

  3. Martha Kennedy avatar

    I’ll just offer what I see… The green version beckons. There’s an opening to the horizon. The beckoning sense is enhanced by the ‘glow’ just beyond that opening. In the “warmer” version that opening is closed. That’s an immense change. The finished (?) version also changes the apparent scale of the “rocks.” The large rock on the right facing changes in appearance from a rock (green version) to a mountain. It’s fascinating to see your process and the evolution of an image. Anyway — my journey through these images. It’s fascinating to read your exploration through your work.

    As for completing a painting, I’ve found that some of my paintings proclaim their completion. Others don’t say anything (like my failed painting) and others? Completion is more complicated.

    I have a painting I think is a total failure. My mentor says it isn’t. She said, “Paint a triptych of sky.” OK, that’s a fascinating idea and godnose I have a lot of sky out here to draw from. With that idea in mind, I’m currently tackling an image I was afraid of and so far so good… I think… Maybe 😉 However it turns out, I like painting things that scare me to paint. It’s here (in progress) if you want to see https://marthakennedyartandpaintings.wordpress.com/2021/07/22/day-two/

    1. zettl.fr avatar

      After I realized that the picture wasn’t much good, I painted the same theme again yesterday and it looks pretty good now. I also revised the first version, it is better now, but once the conviction is gone it will no longer be optimal.

      I finished a completely different one and will post it today. In comparison, how an idea can turn in a different direction and thus become better.

      Your picture has many beautiful aspects, go ahead! I don’t know if it is appropriate to express my suggestions for improvement, but if you want I can give you 2-3 points that might be worth considering.

      1. Martha Kennedy avatar

        Here it is in its current state. I’d be grateful for your thoughts. https://marthakennedyartandpaintings.wordpress.com/2021/07/24/rainbow-finished/

      2. zettl.fr avatar

        Martha, since you asked – here are my 2 cents:

        I personally would do some extra work on the rainbow since it is a major part of the painting and doesn’t look that exiting now. (I guess you had Kandinsky in mind but not sure if this works on your painting that well).

        The other thing sounds to be a minor point but I KNOW it is of big importance: left and right from the rainbow – where it touches the sea – are 2 lines.

        The distance between the two lines and the rainbow is the same. That should not be. This makes the picture too flat and loses tension. And if you take the distance between the two lines and walk this distance to the right, you have set another accent, and it also is the same distance.

        I’m not sure I made myself clear. And maybe it’s not that important. Nice work anyway.

      3. Martha Kennedy avatar

        thank you! I’ll look at the painting with this in mind. 🙂 It’s very nice (and important) to have more eyes than mine looking at my work.

        I didn’t actually have Kandinsky in mind. It was weird how when I finished (more or less) yesterday, I saw the little print in the corner of my studio through the lens of my own painting.

        By the way, I liked the painting you did (and didn’t like). It was fascinating to see your process and read your thoughts. I am often totally in LOVE with a painting when I’m doing it and right after and then I’m not. Sometimes I think, “Well, that painting was a teacher.” Sometimes I paint over it.

      4. zettl.fr avatar

        Right, our paintings are our teacher – or mirror. So sometimes we find ourselves in a frustrated mood when we look at our work while others clap hands.

      5. Martha Kennedy avatar

        I was thinking about that yesterday. I’m actually writing about it now…

  4. Ana Hernandez avatar

    Writing is like that as well. I always need to walk away from my work and return a while later. Then I can see some of the strong parts and more of the weaker ones. Do you ever find yourself surprised by what you have created?

    And I, as well, have never been satisfied with the final product.

    1. zettl.fr avatar

      I definitely agree. Distance and patience……:)

  5. cheriewhite avatar

    I agree with the other commenters. Step back from it for a while but don’t throw it away!

  6. Ecoarta avatar

    Hi! I like your artworks! You’re very good!

    1. zettl.fr avatar

      Thank you so much! It means a lot to me!

      1. Ecoarta avatar

        Welcome! Have a great weekend!

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