5 things to try when a painting isn't working

When something is bothering you with a painting and you just can't put your finger on what it is......
What do you do?
Well, these are some of the things I do...

1.  Look at the painting in a mirror. It's amazing how all of a sudden the 'errors of your ways' becomes apparent.

2.  Look at your painting upside down... and if you are working with a reference image, turn that upside down too. BINGO!  Your inaccuracy's are somehow easier to spot in the "inverted position". (nod to Top Gun)

3.  Take a digital photo and look at it on the computer... I don't know why this works... but I can't tell you the number of times I go to post an image, and whoa... I can spot an error or area of a painting that needs a bit more work before posting.

4.  Once you have the image on the computer... If you have any photo editing software... play around with your wacky ideas on the virtual painting... This method is especially helpful for me if I have a lot of hours into a piece...You can be very bold and try all those "what if's" without actually touching the painting. Some very creative solutions can happen this way.

5.  Start a critique group.... This is a group of artists (not necessarily all painters) that schedule meetings to do a sort of "show and tell." If you're stuck... Your critique group friends will help you sort out what's wrong. They also cheer you on, and motivate you with their efforts.  I really miss my critique buddies since we've moved.  sniff sniff. But this is such a valuable group (both personally and professionally) that I'll be sure to find like minded peeps here in northern MI.  It's a goal.

This photo has nothing to do with the article I just posted... but the berries this year are glorious and I wanted to share. :)

Wine Label...with my painting of the dock on it!

He he he he.... this tickles me... I hope you can click to enlarge the photo so you can see the label... It's one of my paintings of the dock. (and how tacky of me to leave the orange price sticker on there!) My dear friend found the wine in Ann Arbor and got me a bottle. (I have a case of it at the distributor's in Oxford, but I haven't made it downstate to go pick it up.) What fun, eh?

3 Dog Afternoon...

This photo cracked me up.... Major (ours) on the left... cousin KT and cousin Gordon watching for my aunt Carol... the lady with the goodies. She made Major his very own monogrammed travel bag... it's da bomb, or as Major said "Ritz ra romb!"

Show of violets...

spread of violets on Deadstream Rd. in Honor
This photo does not do them justice... but I'm posting it anyway. I'm paying tribute and celebrating this gorgeous purple bonanza of violets down the street from me. Does my heart good to see such loveliness.

Quote of the Day: "It's only possible to live happily ever after on a day to day basis."  ~Margaret Bonnano

Re-thinking your scheduling

This morning's walk was one of those walks where the ideas come at me faster than I can get them recorded (on my phone)... Tons of good painting ideas... I was fired up and ready to go! But the schedule I'm trying to stick to is walking first ..doing other household stuff and other exercising (trying to lose a bit of this winter coat)
THEN making my way down to the studio around 10...less fired up than I would have been right after my walk.

So now I'm re-thinking that schedule.... I should be taking advantage of the creative momentum gained right away and head down to the studio immediately! Most of you are probably thinking... "well, duh Lauren." But how often do we stop and think if there is a better way to go about things.... I guess in my case... not enough. :D

From today.... loved the figure 8

Royally Hopeful and Happy.... I needed that.

I didn't think I was interested in watching the wedding...but then someone on Face-book mentioned "the hats" and I had to have my coffee with the Royals. It was a delightful way to break the day. I was struck by what a hopeful event it was... Beautiful and happy... I really needed that. Thanks Britain...much appreciated.

And on another hopeful and happy note...lookie here!  The Riverside is getting ready for all the canoe and kayak river riders! I do believe this is a sure sign of spring....Yee Haw!

Sight for my color starved eyes....

Crystal Gardens, Frankfort MI
Bopped around the garden center yesterday.... in 2 layers of coats and hat and gloves. I was rewarded with this trailer full of spring time glories.... My eyes did the cartoon "BO-ING" thing. They just didn't know what to make of all that glorious color. AND... after I purchased a couple of things...they gave me a free Easter Lily.... How about that...  Thanks Crystal Gardens!  Happy Easter to you too!

ice amoebas...

I'm calling these "ice amoebas"
I have no idea what made them form...other than freezing and thawing. They look like line drawings of land masses to me. After the warm day yesterday...(40's whoohoo) they have disappeared. 

oh... and if you're interested... here's a link to yesterday's newsletter that includes a video about "expressive drawing."

I would scare me.

At the end of Peterson Rd. in Sleeping Bear Dune National Lake Shore Park.

I've written often about my almost daily walks...When I'm up here in Honor, MI, I hardly ever see another person. Yesterday, as I was walking back to the house... a car passed me...and I suddenly became aware of what I looked like....

  • broken reading glasses (blue) with one lens out... perched on top of my not combed head
  • too small sunglasses on my face
  • paint covered too short black pants...snug in the WRONG places
  • one blue and one black sock (don't ask)
  • my shoes are actually pretty cool...but not cool enough to trump the odd socks.
  • paint covered bright golden yellow Iowa t-shirt
  • ipod in pants pocket
  • cell phone in pants pocket
  • kleenex in pants pocket
  • small camera in pants pocket
  • pen and small notebook in pants pocket
  • all that "in the pocket" activity did not make for a smooth silhouette
  • my husband's coat...(the coats I have up here are too heavy or too light)

"What not to Wear" would think it was a set-up. Understandably, I don't want to show a picture of this....And I probably won't change my work wardrobe any time too soon... but I've read that awareness is the first step toward change. :)

Up Periscope...

The one daffodil is stretching... What an over achiever.
I keep humming "Where is tall man, where is tall man... And he's yelling... "here I am...here I am!" The others have since caught up to him, but it took them a few days.

We have our house up for sale again. We've had a lot of traffic... so between getting it ready to show... and then all the showings (4 in 5 days) I haven't really been able to paint. I'm thinking watercolor will be a bit easier to stay neat with. I tend to really splash about with acrylic.