Blog #29 Know When To Try Again

I am loving this painting. This second attempt was well worth it!
‘Whirlwind’ $325. Acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas 20″x16″x2″

Not all of my paintings work out and that included the first attempt of my latest acrylic painting. It had been a difficult one right from the start. The approach I was using, I thought, would be so beautiful. I was aiming at creating the effect of a large flower garden. After the initial layers of painted colours were placed down I went back into the painting with white and black line work. I wanted to delineate each individual stylized flower. After hours of drawing each of them in using those two inks I began to have that sinking feeling that the painting was falling way short of what I had in my mind’s eye. This painting was becoming more and more cluttered and busy looking. I also noticed I wasn’t having any fun either. It became the time to say ‘nope this can’t be saved, start over’.

So I decided to pull out my gesso and cover up that entire canvas with two juicy layers of it. Watching all those mistakes that I had made with that first painting attempt disappear behind that fresh white gessoed surface was a relief. It inspired me to try a whole new track. So I started out in an entirely different direction. The second painting became much looser and more flowing in style. I wanted it to be an abstract painting so I tried to stay more intuitive with my colour choices and painting strokes. ‘Don’t over think it’, I told myself.

These are cropped closeups of my final successful painting ‘Whirlwind’.
You can see the many layers of colours and the original gouged in lines underneath.

I started with scraping into the wet gessoed surface before it dried with the pointy end of my paint brush. I wanted texture and looping wavy marks gouged right into the background before I started any painting. Okay now we are on to something! Then I applied different colours of oranges, purples and neutral greys and creams. On top of that I created some repeat patterning and line work. The darkest areas were mixed from burnt umber and phthalocyanine blue which created a wonderful contrast and really anchored the composition. I enjoyed adding some more detail work by using coloured pencils, oil pastels and fine tip markers.

Here’s the original ‘garden’ painting #1, the ‘before’ acrylic painting that had gone horribly wrong and was soon to be covered up by two layers of white gesso.

I am so glad I realized that the first painting wasn’t working. That starting over anew was the answer. It was truly freeing to just go for it, to paint away with a fresh start. I am delighted with the end result of my new finished painting. ‘Whirlwind’ ended up having all the fun, vibrancy and movement I was hoping for. I guess you could say it blew me away!

To see this finished acrylic painting ‘Whirlwind’ close up and for more of my paintings please go to my original art watercolour and acrylic galleries on this website.