by Donato

I’m moving through some changes,  I’ll never be the same.

Change is a good thing, especially when improves a painting.  I am part of a small and wonderful group of talented artists and professionals with which, through the use of email, we share projects, ideas, business dialog, criticism and most importantly, ART!  One of the cherished aspects of this email group is the posting of works in progress, whether they be at the beginning in the rough sketch phase, half way into the color final, or posted as ‘finished’ with a little wriggle room left for feedback and critical evaluation.

I have shared all forms of painting stages with my friends, and thought I would post a few examples of how changes have drastically improved an image after posting what I thought was a ‘finished’ work.

As I respect all of the artists within this group, I value and listen carefully to all they have to say including ideas I think could enhance my image as well as those that I disagree with – for all the comments have a context within which they could be seriously justified in pushing my painting towards.

Many times after spending weeks on a painting, I am hesitant to undertake another round of reworking.   But given enough distance from the act of creation, and a little time to distill the comments, I invariably find that the changes only make the work better, and thus are happy to implement them.

Search for Mother
48″ x 36″ 
Oil on panel

‘Search for Mother’ has gone through a series of changes. Just when I think I am done, a few days pass and/or I post the work to the group, and a fresh set of eyes points out a way to improve the work.

The first image is the painting in progress, the mermaid, child and rocks near completion.

After sharing online with my group, I revisited the child’s legs to better clarify the anatomy and add a weight of gravity and intent to shift momentum of the child into one attempting to halt, which played into the theme of the work better.

The final stage was produced after being away from the painting for ~ 5 months and receiving further feedback from another artist and a gallery director to ‘obscure the mermaid more’.  I reworked the raking sunlight, surf at the man’s feet, and obviously buried the mermaid beneath a mound of seaweed.  All which further enhances the work.  For now the painting is ‘finished’ until it comes back into the studio again!

In the beginning of this process, I undertook a small study of the mermaid to get a feel for the color and contrasts I was chasing after in my minds eye.  While the results were successful, an addition of a small slash of light from one of my fellow online buddies (Jon Foster) added the killer moment to the scene which took the work up another notch.

So often as we work upon a painting, too many issues are flutter before our eyes – rendering, anatomy, edge control, color balances, etc- obscuring what should be plainly obvious as an improvement.  Yet just as often, an extra set of eyes and mind can open the path to another way of tackling the work which brings about its holistic completion.

I wish you all success in this journey to find a contentful resolution to your work!