Since I have been painting, I have taken many photographs of interesting places, trees, objects, animals and people that I thought perhaps I would paint someday. I am still learning that not all lovely photos will make a lovely painting.
Perhaps there is a color adjustment that needs to be made or a major section of the photo that needs to be cropped. Or the composition is not quite right. And sometimes a photo just doesn’t translate well into a painting. You can’t always go from photograph to painting. I had that experience recently in France.
I started a painting of a landscape that I had admired and then photographed and then sketched. I spent a great deal of time working on and finishing the painting. It was the last painting that I did in France and I was in somewhat of a rush to finish it. It is never a good idea to paint under pressure—neither from oneself or from an outside source.
Last painting in France
After returning to New Mexico and getting my head and body all back in this time zone and getting the painting stretched, I realized that the painting that I had thought finished was anything but. Actually, in many areas it was rather bad. So since I consider painting to be a problem solving experience for me, I looked at it until I saw some glaring misuse of paint and I then eventually realized what it needed.
Untitled, acrylic on canvas, 14×14-inches, 2014. ©Ann Hart Marquis
I wish that I could say that repainting part or even most of a painting was a new experience for me. It isn’t. I usually know that something needs to be fixed, but it sometimes takes me a while to see the problem. I also know that I will be having this experience again. It is all about problem solving.
Have you ever had to redo a creative project that you thought was finished?
I have been in France for 14 days now and I am loving it here. I started painting the day after my friend Gail and I moved into the house in the village of Soréze. It is a medieval village. All of the houses are three stories. During the middle ages, the bottom floor was used to house the farm animals so that they could contribute to the warmth of the house.
I paint in a lovely studio on the third floor that is quite large and has windows that open onto views of nearby rooftops. It also has a great view below of the cobbled stone street. It has skylights so the painting light is perfect. There are exactly 30 stair steps from the first floor to the studio. I go from the bottom to the top about 8 times a day.
Third floor studio
Here is the first version of my first painting in process. When I took the photo, I thought that I was about half finished. It takes me a little while to get into the French painting groove.
Beginning of First Painting, Soréze, 2014
Here is the next version.
Final revision in Soréze
I never say that I have finished a painting here because when I get home it will be stretched onto wooden stretchers bars by my stretching department, better known as Tim Anderson. Now I have canvas taped on a plywood board with green Frog tape, the color of which is somewhat annoying. By the time I get home, which will be in about a month, my paintings sometimes need a little touch up.
No title has come to mind for this painting. Any suggestions?
PS: Here is an image of the lettuce that we buy at the farmer’s market every Saturday at a nearby town. it makes three salads for two people.
Market day lettuce