Monday, June 15, 2009

Failed Plein Air - Back from the edge?

I usually don't mess with my plein air pieces very much after getting them back home. Although sometimes I'll adjust a dark or light after looking at them a while out of the glare of the sun. Tonight I did something I haven't done before though. I took a complete failure of a plein air and turned it around into something I don't mind. I changed the composition, added a building where there was none before, and changed the color scheme. It was liberating and fun laying down the thick paint, knowing that I couldn't hurt the painting anymore than it was already suffering.

I'm including a pic of the failed try, the re-try and a detail shot to show the paint.

"Free Ferry Road Farm"
12" x 17.5", oil on linen

Above, the original done on site.

Below, the reworked, recomped, etc. etc.


Mick Carney said...

Looking at these, I'm not sure that the original was a failure at all. It has a coherence and vibrancy that shouts out 'painted on site'. In my view the repaint lacks the spontaneity and impact of the original, particularly in the balance of colours.

Cathyann said...

I like the original, too and agree with Mick. I would like to add that the eye moves into the depth of the first on site painting because of the fence and the foreground change in color temperature and line. Not at all a failure.

Ed Terpening said...

I agree, this is a fun exercise. I actually paint a completely different painting on top, with out gesso'ing over, etc. Love to leave little bits of the old paintings color underneath. And you're right, forces you to use nice big bold brush strokes of heavy paint. It's also a nice economical way to get rid of old paintings.

Anonymous said...

Bill, I really like the fIrst one too....but hats off to you for re-working it and trying for something else. Did you learn anything form this at all?

Bill Guffey said...

Thanks for all the comments.

Yes Maggie, I learned to leave them alone. And to not trust my own judgment. ;)

I really enjoyed this process, even though most, i.e. everyone, liked the original. I won't hesitate to do it again though. It's only a little paint.