Saturday, May 11, 2013

Finishing what I Started part 4

Finally finished this piece in time to submit it for judging for entry in the San Diego Co. fair this year. I should say that it is finished to the point that I needed to stop fiddling with it! I did not want to be working on it up until almost the last day, but I did. The last 2 months I Have been so committed to completing it that I started to get stressed out at times thinking I was not going to meet the deadline. It was not as bad for me as last year but I did notice it. There were some areas that I felt like painting out and starting over, but didn't. And parts that I did even though I did not want to. Always the perfectionist! This painting has taken on a special meaning for me also. Something that I have been dealing with for the last couple of years in my life and I will get into that later. My goal for this year was to be back in the fair with another painting and not even think about weather I will win anything or not. I am more focused right now on just, “staying in the game”! To be honest, there were times I contemplated weather this is as good or better of a painting than the one I submitted last year. That is my ass talking because my head knows better. Thought that about the bird painting I entered a year ago and ended up wining first place in acrylic animals with it. Whether it is or isn't does not matter! What does, is being back! I am excited and hopeful about seeing my art in the fair again this year regardless of what happens!

As I left off with my last post about this painting, see part 3. My focus was on finishing the sky. Things had started out quite nicely. There where some parts of it that I did not like but was confident that I could fix them as I moved along. A couple of months ago I was talking to an artist friend of mine at work about how things were progressing with the painting. Told her I was trying not to put to much detail into the sky because the focus needed to be on the whales. She said, “if it is not working for the painting then paint something that is”! My first thought was, “I know what I am doing” true to form for a man, right ladies! But one night as I was working on an area of the sky. I became vary frustrated with how it was looking. It seemed like no matter what I did it was getting worse. I remember taking a step back form the painting and looking at it for a few minuets. As much as I did not want to start over I reached for a bigger brush and some blue paint. I did not paint over the whole thing just the top half which I am glad I did. What I ended up with looks a lot better for the whole painting than what I started out with. There are areas of the old sky that I am going to use for another painting so some good came out of it.

This is where I started out with the sky.

I used a little of the first sky I painted, from way back in the beginning. The clouds were showing through in some areas of what I had painted over so I decided to graft them in to the new one.

At this point I was happy with how the sky was coming along. It still needed some tweaking but I was confident I could fix it. The upper right half of the sky was the area that got away from me. Felt like no matter what I did I was making it worse. Probably because I was trying to put to much detail into it. I don't have any pictures of how it looked before I changed it. But you will see how much it did later on.

Once the sky was done and it was time to leave it alone, I turned my focus to other parts of the painting. The area of the ocean above the waterline I am not sure if the color and lighting are right in some areas. But like the sky it is not the focus of the painting. As work progressed on the sky I felt like the whale at the bottom of the painting was to distant and needed to be bigger and closer to the mother. Once I settled on how much bigger I realized that some of the whale I had done before was not going to be completely covered. Started dreading the thought of having to re-do the background. But I was able to fix it and even I have a hard time seeing it! I think the sky just fell. A little sarcasm her folks. The area below the waterline, in the upper right of the painting. At first, I was thinking of having some people swimming with the whales and a boat just on the service. It need something there because it was looking bare to me. So I decide to go with another whale. My first thought was to have it more in the distance, vary faded. But I went with a little detail so that it looks closer. At one point I kicked around the idea of adding a fifth whale to the painting. Decided to use that idea for another whale painting.

Here is were I started work on making the whale at the bottom bigger

Trying to get the basic color and shape painted back in.

In this picture you can see the old tail sticking out to the right of the new. I was able to fix it though.

The fourth whale being added in the upper right.

Beginning to paint some basic color, shape and lighting for this whale.

At this point the whale at the bottom and the upper right were pretty much done. I did do a little more tweaking on them. Time to finish the mother and baby. You can also see here how much I changed the sky. It helps the whales to stand out more. Sometimes less is better!

Once I had those two whales done. My attention turned to the mother and calf. The mothers tail was an area that I had struggled with from the beginning, Mainly as to the shape of it. At one point I was going to completely paint it out and start over. After looking at some pictures I had taken of the painting as it progressed along, I left it alone. Again, it was the right choise. I still struggled at times trying to get the color, lighting and reflections right. Reworking the tail over and over again along with other parts of her to. I am happy with how she finally turned out though. As for the baby I am still not sure if I have it right. I did tweak it some more but like the other areas of the painting it was time to stop! The last thing I added to the piece was a guy in a boat. I felt it needed something in that area and sense it was an idea I had for the painting form the beginning, it finish’s it off nicely! An artist friend of mine asked me this week if I was done with the piece? I said, “yes”. I told her I had to stop working on it! Or maybe I should say stop fiddling with it. She gave me some good advice. She couldn't remember just how it went though. “If you don't know when to stop fiddling or messing with your art, then you are not being a professional artist”! Sometimes I am not good at letting go of things. I have thought about getting a vault to stick my art in and put a padlock on it. Then give the key to someone so I can't mess with them anymore. I probably would find a way to get into it though. Hi, My name is Mark and I am a fiddle-a-holic. Maybe I should call myself a tweak-a-holic. Would they be considered compulive disorders? Duh! Now lets see, where did I hide that whale painting? I am just kidding everyone.

All most done. Just a little more to do on the mother and baby. I added some rays of light coming done through the water. The background seemed to flat to me and I feel it adds some depth to the painting.

The man in the boat.

I had been trying to think of what to name this painting. Kicked around a couple of ideas but nothing seem to click for me. It finally came to me when I painted the guy and the boat in. Can't explain why but all of a sudden I felt like, “that is me”!. This is when the painting took on a special meaning for me. For the last couple of years I have been trying to figure out some sense of family in my life. If they haven't past away they have moved away. Boy, sometimes I feel like, where the hell did everyone go? And what do I do now?. As I look at the painting, I am the guy in the boat. Looking back on family and what I feel like I have lost, heading out, hoping to find some since of it again in my life. So I have named the piece, “Ohana”. In Hawaiian it means family. This was not my idea for the painting in the beginning. It came from a YouTube video of a baby whale leaping out of the water. I guess as artist we either try to put meaning into our art, or it becomes meaning for us. All in all it is a nice ending to the piece.

The finished piece.

I am looking forward to hopefully having another painting in the fair this year. Been looking at my to do list trying to figure out what to start on next. Got back to work on the portrait painting of a friend and her son and started a small piece for another art show that is in August. But I need to figure out what to do for the fair next year. The clock is ticking and it will be here sooner than I want.