I have been working on my painting for three days, weeks,months and it still doesn’t work. Why? My sketch was really incredible. My sketch was better. I loved it. But what could’ve gone wrong.
This happens to artists all the time and sometimes the error is that you probably never checked to see if your sketch’s proportions matched your canvas.
In my case the vertical sketch was thinner than the canvas. Therefore my two lady figures were not positioned perfectly. They were a bit farther apart and I was futilely trying to correct the design by filling in the area between them and it didn’t work. The interesting posture of one of them was gone. No matter what I did with color- more red more yellow, etc. I had lost the flow. Plus the acrylic paint was gumming up on the canvas creating bubbles and losing vibrancy.
But I persisted. Usually persistence is a good thing – right Elizabeth Warren? Not in this case.
My fluid ladies were becoming awkward bias relief sculptures. They could not be deader than if I had taken a knife to the canvas.
But I persisted. At this point I pitched the brushes and tackled the colors with my gloves. I started smushing paint around knowing nothing good would come of it. I even squirted expensive pigment right on the canvas – a sign of desperation.
Deep down I knew it was over. I thought about how an artist I knew had labeled some if his failures “sailors” because he took them to the beach and “sailed” them into the bay. I am too much of environmentalist to do that. It would be just my luck the wetter paint would slough off revealing the original failure and some beach-goer would find it, dry it out, and with my luck I would see it at his retirement party. Thankfully unsigned.
There are many reasons a painting will never be as good as the sketch . What I have talked about is basically a design problem. Face it folks, bad design equals bad painting.
I used up my paint smearing it on the canvas and started a more textural painting.