Sometimes the hare does win…

Feeling emboldened by last week’s ‘oil into water’ effort, I was keen to seek out another Seago oil painting that I might translate into watercolour. I found what I thought was a relatively simple landscape and, as usual, threw myself in headlong into painting over the most basic of preliminary drawings.

More often than not, I’m usually trying to fit in my painting around family plans, work, socialising, domestic chores, DIY, sleep, and generally trying to maintain life’s equilibrium. This particular day was no exception, which meant applying a wash, then off to do something. Then tackle another element, then off to do something else, and so and so on. So the effort below was completed over a small number of visits throughout the day. One of the advantages of this was that I’m unable to rush in and paint a new passage before the previous one has dried sufficiently. I’m usually, to my own detriment, a terribly impatient painter, so I was feeling immensely smug about the patiently mature approach I was taking on this occasion.

Take one

So it was with a degree of disappointment that, on reaching the what I thought was the end of my work, I was wholly unimpressed and felt that my day’s spaced out efforts had been a waste of time! Despite not having rushed the painting, it also didn’t look particularly well considered or executed. And the more I looked, the less I liked.

So it was that, with a sense of something to prove, I set about trying to redeem myself, and the day. Typically, I didn’t have much time to work with. The daylight was fading fast and I needed to get dinner on the go too. Once again, a very minimal drawing preceded a flurry of painting activity and, after about 20 minutes or so, I decided that enough was enough.

Take twoYes it’s still rough around the edges. And yes it was painted with too much impatience, so wets merged into wets because I hadn’t left time for areas to dry out. But it’s got a liveliness about it too. Despite its greyness, the sky has an energy about it, the foreground trees haven’t been treated so heavily that they dominate, the fields on the right and the distant hills are much more convincing and there’s much great texture and variance in the foreground grasses. Of course it’s still far from perfect, but at least I was able to put my brushes down, tidy up, and begin cooking dinner imbued with just a small degree of painting satisfaction.

The last twenty minutes or so of focused effort had, it felt, eclipsed all of the day’s previous efforts. I doubt however that I could have achieved the second painting without having the experience of painting the first version. Reflecting on the two takes did remind me of the hare and the tortoise parable, with the exception that in this case, it was the hare-like approach that won the day.

Here’re the two side by side for ease of comparison (first version on the right, second version on the left). Be interested to know if people agree or not with my opinions on these two?


Thoughts on Sometimes the hare does win…

24 thoughts on “Sometimes the hare does win…”

    1. Thanks so much Margaret and it’s an interesting question. As I’ve yet to do a painting that I don’t feel I can improve on… I can’t yet imagine a time when I’ll stop wanting to paint a scene until I’ve really done it justice! – but I always find it good to leave a subject, focus on something else, and then return to it… But maybe that’s just me!

      1. I relate so much to what you wrote! I thought it was my perfectionist artist view! I am hardly ever truly satisfied with a painting and I keep going back to get it “right just this time around” yep, I know that scenario quite well. I return often but eventually give up! Oh the angst of the artist life!

  1. They are both so good. However, the first one, the one on my left, is my favorite. Gosh, I am thinking in the opposite to everyone. It is the tree and the foliage behind the tree ….carefree feeling.

    1. Thanks Carmel and don’t worry! you’re not thinking the opposite of everyone else (and so what if you where!).
      The image on the left was my second version and seems to be the one with the most appeal for exactly the reasons you’ve suggested – a much more carefree feeling.
      Thanks so much for taking the time to reply, it’s much appreciated.

  2. I love take 2. And I can relate to your painting process. Now if only o could paint like you!! 😝. Thanks for the inspiration John!

    1. Thanks Jodi, great that you can relate to the trials and tribulations of the process! I still feel a bit embarrassed about my painting as, aside from the practice – I still feel I’m following in the path of some well trodden (and much more accomplished) footsteps! With the recent bout of encouragement I’ve had though, I thinking that the time may be right to spread my wings a little!

  3. The stormier approach in take two seems to be a better fit for what appears to be an overcast sky. When viewed side by side, the first take can look overworked, almost overthought, but only when seen in comparison. Of course, this is just the opinion of a doodler at best, so… 🙂

    1. Thanks Ry and I agree. I didn’t feel like I was overworking/overthinking the first version as I was doing it… but the pressure of trying to do the second one before I had to start cooking certainly led to a freer and more spontaneous approach… maybe I need to do all of my paintings under similar circumstances! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment – it’s much appreciated

    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment Arts & Rhymes, it’s much appreciated and I’m especially glad that we agree on our preferred version of this painting!

    1. Hi Susan and yes, I think less formal is a great way of characterising the difference between the two. I was so much more relaxed and carefree whilst painting the second one. I find painting without caring – but really really caring – such a difficult state of mind to reach! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, I really appreciate it.

          1. Haha, yes, easier said than done indeed – especially if, like me, you find distractions particularly hard to avoid! Many thanks Susan

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