Friday, September 30, 2011

Post Season

I rarely pull of a good design or well thought out picture quickly. The set up of a scene or still life needs to be tinkered with for a while before anything good comes of it.
This spring I did my best to do a still life fast so it could be in the gallery window before opening day of the Cincinnati Reds baseball season.
I set this painting up in a day and finished the picture in a week. It was too big a picture to manage in that amount of time. I even adjusted the composition by adding stuff to it late in the week. First I added the curtain, then the hot dog was added in the last few days.
Revisit that post here.
I just got this painting back from a show at the University Club and seeing it with a fresh eye made me cringe a bit. It was probably not ready to hang in a show.
So, I have set the still life up again, the best I could, and am attempting to make this picture a successful one.

What are the issues with the painting?
Opening Day (1977), 18 x 24, Oil on Linen, ©copyright Richard Luschek 2011
-The main problem I had was that it lacked 'punch'. Basically, it had a weak light effect. Also, the colors seemed a bit boring and seen as local color rather than impressionistically.
-There are too many overly chromatic colors in the edges and not enough bright colors at the center.
-The picture felt out of balance. It looks too heavy on the left side. That space in the upper right was begging for attention, so much that it drew attention.

I actually have had a lot of fun diving back into this picture. I am being less precious about it. I am able to ignore whether or not I am being accurate and concentrating on the quality of the end result. Setting up a still life months later is pretty much impossible to match exactly. As the light and scene are a bit different, I can only take bits and pieces, using the still life as a suggestion.
I have begun to address all the issues I had with the painting and will discuss them more thoroughly when I finish.
Here is the updated image as of yesterday.
Opening Day (1977), 18 x 24, Oil on Linen, ©copyright Richard Luschek 2011
Other than the obvious stuff, like raising the top of the hat and adding the team photo, I have been softening edges to add some breadth to the picture while strengthening edges, chroma and values in the center.
The team photo is barely past a lay-in stage, so it will need a bit more work, though I will do my best to keep it loose so it does not draw too much attention.
I think it is much improved.

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