Something’s Not Quite Right

Finally a new post here on the blog, it’s been a while since my last.

A few days ago I completed a painting titled “Sweeping Light”. After posting it on Facebook and allowing the piece to sit around the studio for a few days (in full view) I realized that something was bothering me about the painting. After thinking about I realized that the painting was very stark, both in design and in execution and lacked mystery. The long sweeping shadows on the hillside were way to dark and their edges were very hard, not sharp, but not soft either. It needed softness as well as some additional light and, most of all, the mountain in the background need to be simplified.

I put the canvas back on easel this morning and immediately began repainting the hillside.  First by removing most of the horizontal shadows then lightening the values of the shadows themselves while adding softness to the edges. I added light to the top portion of the tress to created more interest and warmth to the foreground.  I also added the grove of trees a little further in the background on the right side of the painting to create balance, this also kept the viewers eye in the painting.  The last thing was to have the transition of shadow and light at the base of the hillside more gradual which creates the mystery it was missing.

Making changes like this requires taking a risk.  The painting was OK before, but that was the problem – it was just OK.  I wanted something better.  Taking the risk was the only option.  I think it was worth taking, I hope you agree.  I plan on making a larger version of the revised painting sometime in the near future.


4 thoughts on “Something’s Not Quite Right

  1. Wow. The changes you made took it from ‘okay’ to outstanding! It’s now much more compelling, the composition is balanced, and the light is luscious. Great job! Thanks for sharing your process.

  2. kevin…always great work, and I like your interesting blog comments . My take on this painting is that i like the tree top sun changes you added on the trees on the left, and how you added the right side trees. However, I like the original mountain and shadows better. I think it had more interest, whether or not it was perfectly logical.. It had enough warmth in the reddish sunlit areas, and
    i think the darker blue shadows created more interest. Perhaps they were a little too
    uniformly straight, but that could be adjusted a bit or not. The new version is indeed more dramatic with the bumped up red, but the shadows now seem kinda washed out. I also liked the sky in the first one better. (just one guy’s opinion)…

    • John,

      My apologies for such a late response to your comments, It was not intentional. I sometimes rarely check my blog comments.

      I appreciate your take on the painting and certainly appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with me. Your opinion is valued.

      All the best to you, Kevin

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