Lynne P Hollingsworth Fine Art
“Art must be an expression of love or it is nothing.” Marc Chagall 


(posted on 9 Jul 2014)

Evolution of a Painting

...Or should I say “revolution” of a painting?

Have you ever had a painting you thought was coming along quite well, but you just knew it could be better? Perhaps the direction you were taking met a dead end?

Of course this can happen when you don't plan ahead with thumbnail sketches, composition assessments, and value sketches all designed to eliminate the need to take a sharp right turn during the painting process.

Well, I am afraid I sometimes let my brush get ahead of my brain, my paint get ahead of my plan, if I even HAD a completed plan. This is the story of a painting I THOUGHT was coming along just fine. I even 'kinda' liked it (high self praise for a self critical artist).

In the area in which I live, there are many lakes and rivers and consequently, many marsh areas, magnets for wildlife and flowers, a great source of interesting light reflections and daylight or weather changes which intrigue the artistic eye. Grasses, lily pads, flowering or not, trees, birds, clouds, shadows---all fodder for the artist either plein air, or photographed to be referenced for the studio process. I looked at many photos...this one is near my home.

I have many photographs taken from my area, and I often seek out other photos for reference on sites created specifically for artists, such as Paint my Photo. ( Some of the photos on this page were copied from there.

...My process tends to be some sort of absorption of the myriad aspects that make up the appearance and FEELING of the subject I am painting... so wetlands bring to mind weeds, and mist perhaps, muted light, wildlife, lily pads.. the kind of place that would be silent except for bird calls, or frog croaks. I cannot explain it; I often look at many photos before I 'see' it in my mind.

What I have not mentioned is that I did paint a painting from my mind's eye, it sat in my studio for awhile, and I kept looking at it in a discontented way, so I actually started with a painting, hence "revolution" of a painting:

So, I began this painting, deciding on the grassy wetlands, and leaving the potential addition of wildlife as a later decision. I love the texture of wild grasses, the different shades of green and yellow, reds, and golds...against the blue and purple hues of the water.

I got rid of the row of evergreens, so I would have more depth, more sky and lowered my point of view to add to the depth of field.

As I said, I liked the direction it was taking (for these pieces seem to take their own direction at times) so I posted them on face book.

I am blessed to “know”, via face book, many talented artists, a favourite one of which is Michael Godfrey. He is a very talented artist who paints beautiful paintings. I was blessed with a dialogue with him about this painting and this is where my vision became reality.

He reminded me of some rudimentary, yet crucial, components to address in every painting, many of which could be lost in the enthusiasm of the artist. We have to address depth of field, warm colour verses cool colours (cooler in distance), fading intensity, the importance of the light affecting the mood...oh so much that I know in my brain, yet needed to add to this painting.

With that brief but potent input, I finished the painting, adding as you will see, depth with the cooler colours in the distance, warmer in the foreground; I added the source of light glowing as it does often in the clouds and reflections in the water....As Michael stated so well, “suble use and control of light” is something all artists need to learn and adopt in their work. Great advice from a great artist and one I consider a friend. Oh, I needed reminding!

So I did apply these things, and learned a great deal in the process, which is the aim of both the accomplished and the growing artist. Let me correct that--- all artists, whether accomplished as far as reputation and sales are concerned or not, are always growing; it is a great part of what we do, what we are called to do, and every work of art is a lesson. We learn as we do, including trying things that don't work: failing can only happen if you don't try!

Now, I have another painting with which I am not content... another 'revolution' work! And so it goes...