Remembrance -Painting Stages

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 

~ Lisa