History of a Painting: The Many Lives of One Canvas

I finished a painting this week that I have been working on for a while. It has had many lives. Here is some the history of a painting.

Ann Hart Marquis painting showing history of a painting.

All Legendary Obstacles, acrylic on canvas, 24x30x1.5 inches

As some of you know, I sometimes think that I am finished with a painting and feel comfortable about presenting it to the world, or whoever is looking at my work.

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about a small study I did for a larger piece. I liked the way it looked and proceeded to start a somewhat large 24×30-inch canvas inspired by the small painting.

painting study showing the history of a painting

Ireland Study, acrylic on canvas, 8×10-inches.

I finished it and I thought it was interesting. I displayed it. I lived with it about two weeks and then I started to analyze why it was not making me happy. The problem was then glaring. What were all of the rose forms at the bottom of the painting and why did it look so stiff and out of sync with the series it belonged to?

Ann Hart Marquis Creativity and Travel

First Rose of Spring, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 30 x 1.5 inches

I knew something was going to have to change in a big way—the bottom of the painting. I studied it again and decided that the middle of the painting had some interesting aspects and I liked the colors that I had used.

So what to do? Turn it upside down? That’s what I did. I added some yellow accents.  I then painted over the rose color which was at the top with a gray-blue. I didn’t like that and by now I had so much paint on that section of the canvas that the texture looked out of place.

I was not going to give up. I called on the assistance of an art lover who had much more arm muscle than me to sand down the top of the painting. He did a great job and now I had a smooth surface again.

Stage 4 after sanding

Stage 4 after sanding

Now what color to paint the sky? This time I choose a tint of Naples yellow and created a transparent glaze with a gloss medium. I painted the sky letting the gloss dry for a day before adding a second and third layer of paint. By then about five days had gone by.

A few days ago I decided the yellow in the middle made the painting too cool so I dragged some red oxide chalk over the yellow, wiped most of it off, and sealed it with gloss medium. Finished!

I have started on my next painting which looks like it goes with the series. I will see how it progresses.

Leave a Reply

  1. Yes!! So much better. So interesting to see it progress. I love the weighty, solidity of the rocks/cliffs and how the horizontal yellow/orange rectangle breaks up that weightiness. The cliffs on top are both floating and pushing down. There is a force grounding everything to the earth/sea, but there’s also an ethereal feeling, especially on top. I think I’d call it Between Heaven and Earth!

    • Thank you Sylvia. As you know from my post, this was not an easy painting for me. but I am tenacious even sometimes when it is not helpful. Thank you also for your specific details. They were helpful to me. I love your title.

  2. I really enjoy the colors that you are using. My condo in Boulder is painted these colors up stairs. This series that you are doing remind me of the three paintings I bought, which my the way looks great in my living room. Patti Hartmann

    • Thank you Patti,
      I am try to capture the Ireland of my mind and memory.I am happy that you are enjoying my work. You have always been a wonderful supporter of mine since the beginning.Thank you.