Wednesday, July 2, 2014

One step forward, two steps back.

Some days are just like that. I set to work on a project and every single piece I want to put in isn’t quite right. Maybe I have to cut it three times, maybe I change it out for a slightly different color or texture two or three times. Eventually I get terribly frustrated, and at that point I know I have two choices: force myself to keep going and know I will hate the result, or give up and come back the next day.
Often it’s because something has gone awry either in the andamento or the shading that I can’t quite identify up close, so I’ll take pictures. When I get home and put them on the computer screen, I can usually see where I ran off the rails.
This time it’s the shading. I now know I have to go back and rework some of it to get more even depth on the calla in the foreground.
You can get a better sense of it from this picture, which shows the reference photo as well:
I’m fascinated by this process, and I have been using it as a way to check my progress for years. I never really knew why I could see things in a photo that I couldn’t see in person. Then a couple of years ago I was told by a photographer and artist that when translating photos into paintings, you have to remember that a photo will flatten a landscape, so it takes some effort to recapture the depth and dimension. A little light went off in my head – so that’s why! The photo flattens the image, so any missteps in shading and andamento are exaggerated and more easily identified. Eureka! It’s a great tool.
Tomorrow I’ll start with ripping out some tess and replacing them, the move on to finish that flower.


  1. Ugh... I just tried to post a comment, but now see that it may be attributed to Menossi: i mosaic. Its just me... Jacqueline Iskander.

  2. Oh my, where is my comment? I'll try again.

    Thank you for sharing this! Shading is so difficult in such a small area. Its amazing how the eye automatically makes sense of things, but when we try to express in bits and pieces, its so difficult.

    Good idea to take photos for examination. This offers an objectivity that seems to escape us when working close-up. Also, looking at the piece in a mirror seems to help me see it freshly.

    I think I said all this better in my first post, which seemed to want to be attributed to Menossi: i mosaic... for who knows what reason. But, I'm not sure that post was successful... hence my previous comment. This is my second try... hope it works.

    1. I think I'm finding the lighting in my new studio a little wonky as well, which is definitely having an effect on my ability to see the shading well in person. I'll have to tinker with that too, but I have never really used a mirror, although I have heard of that technique. I'll have to scrounge one up and give it a go. Thanks!



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