Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Vineyard Watercolor.....can this painting be saved?

Yikes! I have done it again- managed to take a watercolor that had a nice start and turn it into a painting that I should probably give up on. That is my main problem- I HATE to give up and instead I set them aside and return to my frustration another day. I did a watercolor similar to this one for my in-laws (of their vineyard at raisin harvest time) and liked it. I think I used purples for my darker shadow areas now that I think of it. Also, I think I didn't try to make the piles of raisins look like anything specific- which was probably a good idea. So, anyway, I have lifted some of my shadows and am trying to figure out my next move. I have spent the last few weeks trying to ignore the large half finished watercolor on my painting table! Any ideas from my fellow artists? Do I need to learn to just give up and start over, or can this watercolor be saved? I don't know why I have such a problem bailing on a painting...I guess I must somewhere deep inside my brain, love a challenge. It doesn't feel that way when I am struggling with it, I could have finished 5 of these in the time I have pondered my next move.
Thanks in advance for any advice!


  1. Hi Sheryl, I personally find it very beautiful, perhaps you should try to make
    most recognizable grapes in the foreground, but that's just my opinion.


  2. Franz- thank you so much for your help! I know sometimes giving up would be so much easier!

  3. It looks fine to me. I would tack it to a wall and step back to see where to go next. We're so alike Sheryl, I hate to ditch work too like that hydrangea painting I'm fooling around with.

  4. Hi Sheryl,
    there are a few changes I would make.

    I love the way you have a few stragglers breaking up the line of green on the left. They encroach on the path and give your eye a chance to wander. I would do the same on the right hand hand side.

    Then, the drying raisins.
    For a painting to work (this is different to a photo) you need to have recession in the colours. That is, the first set of raisins should be the darkest and every sheet going backwards should be lighter than the one in front of it.
    Otherwise, your eye is distracted and the painting does not read as a view down a line.

    Because the lines of the field are so good in recession, it is confusing to the eye to have raisins which are so similar in colour - as you have now :(

    Apologies for the long explanation.

  5. Thanks, Dora- I like the wall idea! Yes, "never say die- right"?

    Pat- thanks for the tips- sometimes we are just to close to our painting to see the things we are missing! You gave me some good ideas!
    THANK YOU BOTH! I will let you know how it goes. Not today-
    I am a baseball fan and my SF Giants and NY Yankees are both playing and both need all the support they can get!

  6. I learned something from Pat just now! Receding colors... I'm going to file that in my memory (hopefully)
    I can't comment on what you should do with this... Myself, I would play with it a bit, and see what happens! I usually put my questionable pieces out of sight for awhile. Sometimes I go back to them and like them more than I expected I would. I admire you for being able to create a whole painting in watercolor! I'm not there yet!

  7. I like that you placed more grapes on the ground. It is rich and gives good perspective.
    You also put a lot of work on left part of the row.
    In order to make this painting more interesting you could make the front leaves on the left more detailed (if you wish) This will drive eye back after the viewer observed the raisins and traveled to the end of the middle row.

    Great job by the way Sheryl!


  8. Thanks, Katherine- I am so glad I put my work in progress up for advice! It is nice to have fresh eyes on a painting. And, by the way, I have seen your pencil work, and wouldn't be worried about painting!

    Dora- I am hanging in there with them- they are losing again!

    Thanks, Irina! I had my shadows in on the right side and didn't like them, so now am going to put them in again with a purple/cool shade and not as dark as they were. I wasn't finished, just stalled!

  9. Sheryl....well, you and I are in the same boat rowing up stream, aren't we? Both of us are grinding our teeth over a couple of challenging paintings and deciding what to do next. Definitely don't give up. You have some great comments/suggestions and I agree with Pat....break up the lines a bit with some stragglers from the grape vines. Also, the tip on the recession of colors is key also.....darker more vibrant colors in the foreground, lightening them as they recede to the background. I don't think the piles of raisins need much more than some shadowing near the bottom of the piles and a little definition. But my question would be...are they piles of raisins or are the raisins drying out in a single flat layer?

    Your painting has a really great perspective....good luck with your changes and adjustments. Thank you for your suggestions to my painting as well!

  10. Thanks, Gretchen!
    I had intended to have more going on on the right side, just not there yet....got stuck on my right side shadow all down the row and lifted it. Was going to put in more detail when I get it right. I guess the shadow (afternoon) is my main area I am stuck on- it wasn't pretty enough- last time I did a painting with similar photo, I used a "purple leaning" cool shadow color.

    The raisins wouldn't really be called a pile (I kind of used the term loosely), but they are laid down in bunches (of grapes) and it flattens as they dry and drop away from each other.

    Anyway, I won't give up (not yet anyway) but I am going to work on some more fun watercolors I have started and go back to this when I have relaxed about it and have a fresh perspective. You have a deadline (yours is a gift, right?)...I thankfully do not.

    Thanks so much for all your support!

  11. I'm looking forward to a fun painting....I did take a break today from the house. Okay, I lied, I fiddled with it a bit early this morning after my son got on the bus, but that was it. Have fun with your next one. The raisin painting will be waiting when you're ready. Mine, on the other hand, must be worked out by Friday night (if not sooner):(

  12. Good luck, Gretchen- I know you will do it and it will look great!


Thank you so much for your comments- I love to hear what you think!