Blood, Sweat and Guilt

Watecolor (unfinished) 22 x 30 inches
You may wonder what I am doing.

Truth known, I have been trying to finish a painting begun and painted 80% of the way last spring. It is still not done, but I am hard at work making adjustments. There are value revisions, temperature adjustments, edge modifications and all sorts of niggling things which need to be sorted out in this piece. As complex as it is, I may be flirting with the dreaded “overworked” look.

Having been again on the easel for a week, it is nagging my consciousness and am considering looking closely at it to see what I can learn from it and considering starting all over again.

Yes, you might well be correct. I might be nuts to do that. Something just isn’t singing out to me in this one,though. But I thought you’d like to see the progress and the struggles (and blood) of a suffering, frustrated painter attempting something far over his head.

I’ll let you in on another secret: It has been leaning against my studio wall since May (almost 6 months) 80% finished. I have been (yes, I am really saying this) reluctant to finish it for fear of ruining it. (There! I said it! The confession is out. Guilty !)

Finally, I had to face the truth: It can’t lean against the wall forever. It can’t go on unfinished; it would be worthless and end up in the trash. So, if that is where it is headed anyway, why not jump in knowing you might ruin it. It is already worthless!

So, here it is . . . .not quite resolved completely . . . .can you see my sweat and blood on it?

20 thoughts on “Blood, Sweat and Guilt”

  1. Since I am such a “newbie” at watercolor, all I can say is — WOW! If I ever did something this great, I’d be dancing a jig! What is it they say? We are our own worst critics!

    I think it’s wonderful!

  2. Great composition! Would you accept some ideas?

    All 4 of the cabs are “yellow”. For variety’s sake, might you want to make a few of them some other color? (Yea, affects the title…)

    My eye keeps going to the black shape behind the red flag; do you want me to be there?

    In a few days at 3 AM you’ll finish it…

    With great respect… Hank

  3. Wow and interesting composition! I agree with Hank’s comments and my eye kept going to the black. But, what a neat composition. Maybe if you do it again, you’ll see how you want to resolve this one. In any case, I’ll be waiting to see how you complete it.

  4. H Zee !! You are right on the money. The cab colors are very deliberate. But the ‘black shape’ (a guy in an overcoat hailing a cab) is one of the ‘adjustments’ that I executed to inch him darker to match the value of the car to the left of him . . . .and I over did it. So, now I am sweatin’ it again! I gotta tone that guy down! ( Can I do it without ruining the effect? that is THE question!)

  5. Peggy. You and Hank and I all agree! Your eye goes there because the shape is too dark. It is a matter of value adjustments. I have a few choices to work with (I think!) . . .but we shall see how it comes out.

    thanks for taking the time to push my vision by commenting.

  6. Yes, I see some blood at the back of the car…

    Suggestions? hmm – I know, I am about to state the obivous, but – with all that cheery yellow, how about adding some violets and purples to complement it? Like, y’know, violet being opposite the color wheel and all – might make it sing and pop.

  7. Mike – this is what I would do. Even though the yellow are all the same “cab” yellow, those further from the viewer would be toned down. None of the same yellow would appear. You could do this by cooling them down. Then I would make sure that the cabs closest to you have some vivid yellows, even some oranges and that their compliments are in their shadows just a vivid. Compliments tend to make the color vibrate. As for the guy behind the light, I am thinking it is an advertisement, I would give the whole rectangle a darker tone. Same with the other sign. You have to do something to push that whole area back.
    Love this piece, so take your time.

  8. It looks great! Love the yellows and the complex composition. I got a painting that’s been on an easel for half a year (an acrylic). I’ve been afraid to touch it. Maybe I should take a cue from you!

  9. Two Robins back to back! Imagine that two Robins visit right nest to each other! 😉

    Ms. Robin, thanks for coming by . . .it’s been a while since you have commented. Thanks for the advice about the yellows. I’ll take a look and see if I can improve the image with the temperature shifts you speak of.

    Keep in mind that this image’s original intent was to show how the yellow (that taxi shade) is repeated in so many different ways around intersections. Meant to attract attention . . .but somehow gets boring, doesn’t it?!

  10. Nava . . .Go ahead and state the obvious! What may be obvious to you, may not be to someone else. In person, there IS Purple in there. Monitors have a tendency to make us see what ain’t there and make us not see what is.

    Hugs! 🙂

  11. Hey Dave! The masses often misquote me. Of course you can ruin a watercolor. I said something to the effect that every mark was not permanent. The can be reworked a lot. They are much easier than most folks think.

    Oh, and Dave, as a favor, Buddy, let’s hold down the profound expletives here. I use em, too, but not here. Thanks.

  12. Hi Peggy! Don’t hold your breath!!! I don’t know when the mood is going to be right to dive in and make the necessary corrections in this piece. Meanwhile, stay tuned. Thanks for coming by!

  13. I’ve read some of the comments, and I still think this water color looks almost completed! I love all the yellows!
    I promise to curb my crusty language on your blog, but I hope that you understand that said crustiness is oft times reserved for talented artists such as yourself! I also wholeheartedly believe in “dififferent strokes for different folks” so again, when visiting, I’ll be good.

  14. I’ve just reneged on my promise to myself to get started on WBtheO painting 13 IMMEDIATELY after breakfast, and you’re the reason!

    I thought I’d just checkout your blog for a minute or two…ha!! That’s much more than an hour or so ago…I lost track of time. However – there was so much that reinforced your lectures and the class that it was time well spent. Thanks for this site – it’s a great resource when you’re not around.

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