If at first you don’t succeed, crop
I know I’ve admitted to this before, but it bears repeating: if a painting doesn’t quite work and you can’t figure out how to fix it, consider turning it upside down. Or, if all else fails, crop it. I just checked and the last time I mentioned this was back in a December 2012 blog post. (So I guess I haven’t overdone it.)
Here’s a perfect example. On a recent visit to Cooperstown, the rainbow formed as the sun hit the fountain spray in the pond in front of the Glimmerglass Opera House. I snapped a few pictures and came back to my studio in NYC to paint.
It’s much more representational than I am happy with and I don’t like the way the painting is almost split into blue and green halves. And the yellow and pink colors don’t completely make sense since you can’t see a full rainbow. And I included those few weeping willow leaves in the upper right corner to try and create more interest up there, but they don’t really work.
So tried looking at it from another angle: upside down. No, I didn’t stand on my head; I turned the painting upside down.
Well, that’s interesting … almost like looking at the sky from underwater. But those dark green things hanging from the top don’t make sense now, although I do like the fact that there is more to focus on in the upper right corner. Oh, but the weeping willow leaves really look stupid. And the yellow and pink still don’t make sense.
Since I still don’t like the division of the painting into blue and green halves, I turned it back right side up and cropped out most of the green (at the suggestion of an artist friend).
Much better. Why didn’t I think of that myself?!? I’ve eliminated the blue/green division, eliminated those stupid looking weeping willow leaves, eliminated the reflection of the green shrubs and grass in the pond at the top which wasn’t quite realistic enough to really make sense … and I’m left with the water reflecting something and the reeds in the foreground.
Still too representational for my taste, but it works. The cropping made a huge difference.
Now I’ll have to try a really abstract version.