Monday, April 11, 2016

Someone Needs a Makeover

Have you ever watched the show, What Not to Wear on TLC where Stacy London takes some frumpy fashion failure and transform her into a dynamic dashing diva?  The show always ended with a revealing of the NEW look and they would give us a reminder of the past by presenting a BEFORE and AFTER comparison.  I kind of feel that this is what I'm trying to do here while writing this blog.

I call this piece "At the Rivers Bend" and I painted it originally as a study on water reflection using a snippet from artist Jerry Yarnell's and his online school resources.  There was a lot about the piece that I liked but over the next two years, as my skills improved, there was more and more about the piece that I didn't.  

In preparation of hanging my exhibit "Down Country Roads" at the Boulder City Art Gallery, I was going through my closet and came across this piece.  I knew that the time had come to give this piece a COMPLETE MAKEOVER.  And just like the TV show, I have included a before and after photo and I thought I would also provide for your reading pleasure a personal commentary on the changes.

"At the River's Bend"- 18x24 Acrylic painting

1.- I lightened the sky and water.  I'm not sure what shade of blue I used originally, but it appears too dark and purple to me.  I'm guessing we might be looking at cobalt blue.  I changed the whole tone by lightening and brightening with cerulean blue instead.  The water is simply a reflection of the sky so they have to be the same color but just a few shades darker.  I also added some fluffy summer clouds.

2.  Probably the most obvious edit is the adding of the canoe and the fisherman.  I felt the original painting lacked a story and by adding the fisherman I have added a focus to the piece that was absent before.  I personally love fishing and whenever I look at a beautiful river or lake, I always wish I could throw up a lawn chair and grab my rod and reel.  I'm not much of a boater but for the sake of the composition, I think a canoe has much more appeal over an old lawn chair sitting in the grass.

3.  The tall reeds that are growing at the edge of the far bank were too uniform.  They appeared to be cut straight across like a hired landscaper had recently come along with giant hedge clippers and had given them a good trimming.  I always fall into that trap and have to consistently remind myself that in nature everything is random. It must be my years spent as an accountant because I still struggle with this.   I also moved the little tree to be growing behind the reeds instead of almost floating in water.

4.  I finished off my edits by embellishing the foreground and the little area in front of the canoe by adding a few fallen logs jetting out of the water and some rocks.  Almost every element added has to cast a reflection on the water so you can see I have duplicated the impression of the shape in the water.

I hope you enjoyed this little before and after comparison.  The new and improved "At the Rivers Bend" is currently added to my exhibit and is on display at the Boulder City Art Gallery.  I will soon be making the image available on my website at  Just contact me if you questions about this or any of my other works.  

Thank you for stopping by and spending a few minutes of your day with me and my blog.

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