I have in the past shared work-in-progress posts, but usually, it’s when I’ve been purposefully documenting a painting at various different stages, and I usually share the work-in-progress images only when I’ve finished the painting!
On this occasion, its not that I’ve been documenting the stages, but more that I just reached a point in a painting when I had to stop, and now I find myself in a dilemma about how to progress!
Here’s the most recent painting that I’ve been working on:
I usually work quite quickly and more often than not finish a painting in the same session or same day that I start it. With this painting however, I had a few interruptions and progress was a little more fragmented than usual. Even so, I’m pleased with what I’ve done so far. The only thing now is that I need to add the trees on the left of the lane.
My dilemma is that I like what I’ve done so far, and I really don’t want to ruin it, but nor do I feel confident about doing the best possible job of the trees. The trees in question will link the bottom half of the painting with the top half and without them, the painting looks obviously incomplete. The trees will most likely take up between a quarter and a third of the entire painting so it’s not as if they’re going to go unnoticed. (If you look closely you may be able to see some feint pencil lines that indicate the main branches.) I keep thinking about the best way of trying to portray the trees and so far, remain unconvinced by all my solutions. I know, I should probably have thought of this before I started but I had precious little idea that it was going to work out as it has or that I’d become so attached to it before I’d even started on the trees!
The trees are leafless and there’s a temptation to go tight and end up having to suggest every individual twig. An alternative might be to just try to loosely suggest the tree with a few drags of a mop brush, in a similar vein to Edward Wesson. Another approach might be to block out the mass of the tree with a very pale wash and, when this is dry, apply some dry brushstrokes over the surface to suggest the texture of the smaller twigs and branches. This is something I think of as being a little more Roland Hilder-esq in approach. There are probably numerous other ways that I could try to tackle this too, but the fact that I can’t decide which one might work best is quite disconcerting.
I think that whatever approach I take, I need to try to paint boldly and confidently – neither of which I yet feel capable of doing to see this painting through! I’m currently trying to tell myself that I have nothing to lose – that without the trees, the painting isn’t remotely finished. Sadly there’s so much that I already like about the painting that I can’t seem to summon up this level of carefree abandon!
What a conundrum! Any thoughts on how I should proceed – both practically and mentally – would be most welcome! I’ll be sure to share with you, whatever happens, next week – assuming that is that I get over my current state of paralysis!