|LATE IN THE AFTERNOON 14x11 oil on linen panel|
When I come back from painting outdoors, the studies go onto my drying rack. After awhile I go through what has accumulated and do a bit of painting triage. culling out the ones that are hopelessly sick beyond recovery. The Junkers. They go into my scrape down and paint-over stack to re-use the panel. Then, I choose the ones that stand up as paintings that I'd like to see finished and framed. The Keepers. There are getting to be more of these, and that's nice. What's left goes into my hospital, the reference and re-work stack. The Patients. What's nice about these is that they have a very low intimidation factor for me since I feel like they can only be made better with a little attention. They're great for having something to operate on when I'm feeling blocked or in need of a subject.
It isn't hard to find plenty to choose from! :) Anyway, I'll grab something that I can see had some redeeming quality or potential, put it on the easel, sit down with my sketchbook and start to analyze the piece as if it were done by someone else: "Hey, nice start there. What seems to be the trouble? Looking at it objectively, here's my diagnosis for how to treat this." I do a rough sketch, trying to improve the compositional plan, make notes about the shapes, edges, values, colors, and design principles that I think should enhance the piece. This is usually enough to get my enthusiasm up enough to put out the paint and get underway. Besides the healthy thinking and painting workout through diagnosis and surgery, there's a nice feeling of accomplishment when I'm actually able to turn one of these into a Keeper.