Art – Painting Learning Moment: Knowing When to Walk Away From an Unfinished Work.
In my last post, I set up the line work of the painting I was going to work on.
I also wrote that, if I messed up the painting, I would simply stop working on it and move on. Well, turns out I’m going to be moving on.
Not because I think I messed up but because something else came up, that needs my time more. I’ll write about it next week.
That said, it didn’t help that I’m also in the process of writing another drawing book which takes up a lot of my painting time. I really didn’t get to put in the time on the painting that I wanted to.
In any case, let me share with you what happened, and a few tips about what you should take away when you walk away from an unfinished work.
Applying What I Learned
Since I was done with the line work and since I had already spent a lot of time with a painting that didn’t work, which looked like this:
I thought I’d combine the two.
Taking the line work I had done, which looked like this:
I put it on top of a copy of the painting that didn’t work. I used a copy in case I needed the original for whatever reason.
I then sampled the colors of the copy and proceed to apply the colors within my line work. It was a lot like coloring in a coloring book. I stuck mostly to the darkest areas of the painting. I rarely touched the light side.
Although it doesn’t like like it. Mostly because I had done so much work on the light already.
Here’s what it looked like:
It looked much better even at this stage than the other one.
I didn’t put any details in the shadow areas and just kept them as one mass shape.
So I can now pat myself on the back for successfully applying step two…or is it three? Since the drawing should also be a step…
Anyway, I thought I’d start doing the next step. Thing is, I didn’t quite know what that step was. So I made it up. I thought I’d finish the eyes and nose.
After I began working on that, my painting took a turn for the worse. I ended up with a bug eyed monster. Take a look:
Yeah, the eyes are just wrong. They stuck out and looked unnatural. I think the colors I used where too bright. Also, It thing I drew the eyes too big.
It didn’t help that the nose was giving me trouble as well and I couldn’t quite get it to look right.
This was frustrating. This is as far as I had gotten before I had to stop and work on my drawing book, but I didn’t want to leave the painting there if I was going to write about it on this blog post so I thought I’d try a desperate thing.
A few days later, I took the eyes from my original failed painting and pasted them onto this painting. Then I blended them in as best as I could. Here’s how it came out:
I was surprised it actually improved the face. Those eyes where nowhere near as colorful or as big.
After that, I touched up the face a little more and stopped.
With more time I suppose I could make the painting actually look good, but I just don’t have the time.
I learned a lot, but it looks like I have to abandon this work and move on. At least I’m leaving the painting feeling like it isn’t a disaster.
Perhaps once I get better, I can come back and finish this up.
I doubt it though. It’s better to just keep moving forward.
What to Walk Away With
The best way to walk away from a drawing or painting that didn’t turn out the way you wanted, is to have learned what you need to work on next.
If you don’t see a plan of action for what you need to study or try next, you haven’t been paying any attention to what you were doing. And it’s possible you don’t even have a process at all.
You need to sit down and honestly analize what problems you where having when working on your drawing or painting.
Then break down those observations into a plan of action.
For example, here are my take aways and my plans of action.
- Beautiful women have less landmarks on their face than men. Their faces are smoother. It’s more difficult to find anchors to work on. Because of this, their faces are more complicated to paint. I need to start on a simpler subject. Possibly men’s heads.
- I’m not exactly sure I know I can do a finished digital painting yet. I have yet to finish one. I should therefore start simpler by taking away elements to worry about. I this case, color. I should practice black and white paintings before going full color.
- I obviously don’t have a full grasp on how to approach painting, eyes, noses and mouths. I need to practice painting these feature before I do my next full head painting.
- Practice painting noses. In black and white and in color.
- Practice Painting eyes. In black and white and in color.
- Practice painting mouths. In black and white and in color
- Paint male heads in black and white. Then in color
- Eventually, paint another female head.
I hope you find these tips helpful.