Saturday, 11 May 2013

What's in a Name...... or Variations on a Theme

Original Watercolour
This might sound silly to anyone who has never tried to sell a painting, but anyone who has will certainly understand what I mean when I say that sometimes the hardest thing to do your picture!
This is especially true when you have done several paintings of the same scene or the same theme. I was going through my photo archives and came across a painting called "Out to Sea". It was a large watercolour (30" x 20" in old money.) that I painted six or seven years ago. Although it is a fairly simple scene it is actually a very strong composition. It is also an iconic coastal view that most people have encountered when strolling along the clifftops. These factors meant that it attracted a lot of interest and was eventually sold. Let's have a look at it:
"Out to Sea"
So this was the original and even though I say it myself - in a frame with a 2" mount - it looked pretty good. However it had been painted in our pre-digital camera period, so the only record I have now is this small photo. I am preparing to paint a large watercolour which will form part of our major exhibition next year (if it turns out right!). It is a large scale coastal scene that I have in mind and as I had been engrossed in iPad painting for several months I thought this scene would be ideal to revisit to ease myself back into 'proper' painting. I could brush up my 'coastal' techniques and I thought it would be interesting to compare the two. Want to see the outcome:
20" x 16"
Original Watercolour
Glenn Marshall
As you can see, it is a fairly straightforward take on the original. But I have made  variations which improve the composition slightly. I have widened the path and curved it  to make it more pleasing to the eye. But the main difference is in the sky. The original sky was very much a 'happening' with the easel tilted  and the painting upside down so that the paint would run away from the sea. Over the years I have acquired a lot more control in the way I paint. I used the same colours (I always do.) but this time made the paint go where I wanted it to so that the clouds lead you into the distance. This creates 'space' in the painting and more depth than the original where the sky is a bit horizontal. However, even as I was painting the sky I was thinking I  should have done this differently! When completed, framed and hung on the wall though, it didn't look too bad. But over the next few days I kept looking at it and wondering. I probably would have taken it no further except that driving up the coastal road I noticed the real life effect I had so nearly captured on paper. It was morning and the sea just faded away into the sky with no distinguishable meeting point. That was it...all the incentive I needed to go "Out to Sea" again! It is no different than a musician doing a different take of a song until he gets it right. This was the effect I was after and had seen:
So the same colours again but this time painting the sky and sea together in one wash to create that lovely misty effect. Again I made a few alterations to the foreground - making the path a bit 'warmer' and exaggerating the height of the posts to create even more depth. I even added a careful shadow on the left hand signpost to add to the illusion of reality. I hung them side by side in my studio to compare the two and have decided that I am very pleased with my third (final?) attempt "Out to Sea - Misty Morning".
Naming the paintings was pretty straightforward but you do have to be careful. When I first started painting professionally, I opened a business bank account trading under the name of Fairfield Arts. It seemed pretty logical at the time - we lived in Fairfield Cottage so why not. But a couple of years later a friend (!) abbreviated it to F-Arts! We then became and still are Marshallartz. Again it is a pretty cool name - but we have had inquiries for karate classes! The Rudston group even tried to get me to change my 'painting' name as there are quite a few artists called Glenn Marshall....they decided I should be known as Ship McCoy!
So on that note I'll say farewell for now me ol' shipmates and splice the main brace!

No comments:

Post a comment