by Lisa Larrabee
Have you ever spent countless hours on a painting only to find yourself stuck? I assume that every artist has been there. At the stage below, I was at a loss as to how to proceed. I liked how the light through the trees had greater intensity than on the figure. I was also happy with how I painted the repeated figure's face in the negative spaces between the branches. However, it didn't quite feel right, and I could not put my finger on it. (Looking back, it seems quite clear!)
I moved on, but it continually nagged at me. Finally, after a long break, I decided what I needed to do to finish it. I typically never go back and work on an older piece, but this one demanded it. I had just finished a few landscape paintings, and had rediscovered an amazing tonalist landscape painter, Brent Cotton. With new momentum and inspiration, I felt I had the tools to overhaul this piece. One element that was clearly missing was the sunlight ricocheting, adding deep warm color to the trees and branches. With that as a starting place, I was able to make some dramatic changes before repainting the figures in relationship to the new hues and values.
I wanted to share this example because we all get stuck. Oftentimes, the solution is to back away and return with a fresh perspective. Get some feedback, and let go enough to be willing to make the changes once you realize what needs to be done. In the end, I finally felt that my painting realized it's potential. It just took awhile.
Scottsdale Biennale Finalist, Wee Gallery of Fine Art
Meritorious Entry, Richeson 75 International Figure/Portrait