Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Taking a Second Look

Years ago I studied with a wonderful artist named Wynn Jones. I have mentioned him before here. He was my first painting instructor at Northern Illinois University and we were studying watercolors. His paintings were masterpieces of harmony and design and he was a great teacher. I loved watercolors but not the discipline that Mr. Jones required of repainting the painting over and over until it was right. Though it worked wonderfully for his work and many of the students, I had a hard time creating a better painting the second time around. Instead of looking new and improved, my repainted paintings looked less and less inspired. Fortunately my next watercolor teacher flowed with my spontaneous approach and I fell madly in love with painting.

That was over 40 years ago and my pattern of painting hasn’t changed. If my paintings aren’t working out, I don’t restart the painting and try it again. Instead, I switch my subject matter often. A landscape, then a figure, then an animal or a still life, I keep rotating my interests. However, I do circle back around weeks, months or years later and once in a great while, I revisit a specific subject and look for a different approach.

This past month I did just that. A year ago I painted a little girl looking out a window at her own reflection. I liked it a lot and so did the Salon International Exhibition and several clients. Somerset Fine Art even has future plans to print it. The painting sold right away.

Waiting 12 x 12 Oil

A year has passed and I felt that I had one more thing to say about that subject. So, taking a second look, I used a slightly different color scheme, changed the format and the approach to the background. This time the same little girl is actually playing with her reflection in the window. I like this one too and so does this year’s Salon International Exhibition.

Reflections 14 x 18 Oil

Moral of the story, Mr. Jones was right. Revisiting the subject does inspire new insight, creative ideas, sometimes it even helps simplify and organize. My ideas have had a chance to morph into a new concept. Thanks Mr. Jones; you were right!