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  • Jenny Gilchrist

Mid-Painting Confusion

PAINTING CONFUSION. It's quite common to have a mid-painting crisis. I have them all the time (not just alluding to my age!!). I often get halfway through a painting and think "what what the hell am I doing?" I've noticed this about myself over 25 years and have hundreds of half finished paintings as a consequence. I keep them all. Occasionally I resurrect them (like I'm going to do this week) and occasionally they turn out something great (I liked the one below "the Bridge" which was a Half Job Harry for about 2 years! way back in the day) Realising your issues with your painting can be extremely beneficial. Maybe you have issues with fiddling at the end, with too many colours, with tone, with subject, or with mid painting confusion like me...

Think about it. What do you always 'complain' to yourself about when you're painting? What can you do about that?

HERE ARE SOME OPTIONS: MID PAINTING CONFUSION: a) have another look at your thumbnail (you made one didnt you?) and follow it! b) step back and come back to it another day (not 10 years preferably).

COLOUR CONFUSION: a) have a test strip b) limit your palette to 3-5 colours, or less!

ORDER HESITATION: on your thumbnail sketch number the order in which you think you might paint thin gs. Remember big things, like backgrounds and skies are often painted first, while litlte things like details are last.

TONE: draw a tonal sketch first with a progresso pencil, then use the information (eg direction of light) to leave white, lights, and make darks.

FIDDLING (OK, I'm guilty of this too) When you think your painting is 3/4 finished, STOP! put it aside and come back to it in a day, set it up somewhere and look at it over another day. Make a list of what you need to do to finish it, and when you only THAT list.

Have you got other issues? subjects? clutter? design? What are they? How will you handle them? Tell us!!!!

Left:...the tree one...a bit of colour confusion and ...what next? It's almost finished, but lacking something....colour, detail? foreground.... I just can't work it out. Maybe you can tell ME! The one below with the hill and masts...if I had a thumbnail I have no idea where it is. (always keep them together!) idea what it was going to be.

And at the bottom - The Bridge...the one that was for a couple of years unfinished, but I took it to a mate's house one day and we had a painting day where I finished it. Finally. Now for those other two... (read 100)

So all is not lost if you get part way through a painting and then get the 'willies'. Put it aside, and have a think about the problem. Make a plan, and attack it another day. You might be surprised. I was!

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