Reworking a Painting and Giving it New Life – Bird #33 of 100

The Story:

I had nothing but problems with this painting. When I first worked on it, the background got away from me and got too dark. Then I had trouble with the little fish in his mouth. I worked on that silly fish for days. Also, I worked on it up on an easel, but when I took it down, I realized the support was warped.

I got good feedback on it however, and decided to try and un-warp it and enter it into a show. It wasn’t accepted, and when I went to pick it up, I realized that the new medium I tried for adhering the collage paper had turned milky! And the supports went back to their original warpedness. Grrr. That was enough of that. It was banished to the closet to serve hard time in the dark.

The Solution:

The thing was, it kept whispering to me, usually late at night when I was trying to sleep. So about six months later, I got it back out. My first step was to take the canvas off the old support and put it on a new one. I only gouged one finger getting the staples out! Then got rid of that darn fish and closed the heron’s beak. With a cry of “No Mercy!” (in my head), I slapped white gesso all over the background, leaving a bit of the orange around the edges of the heron, thinking I might use some of that later.

It stayed like that for a day or two, while I stewed and asked myself, “What the heck do I do now?” But I asked some of my wonderful friends their opinions, and that gave me a kickstart. (Thanks Lauren and Tom! And you too, Char. I had asked you a while ago.)

I added some washy colour around the heron, and some reeds. The bottom needed a bit more darks, so added a few. I found patterns in the paper that I used on the bird and accentuated them and placed some similar ones throughout the painting. Finally, I played around with some coloured pencils and oil pastels to add some pops of colour and texture.

I think I’m done now, and it sure has changed! For the better, I think. Now I just have to come up with a title…

The Progress:

The Final Painting:

Finished 36″ X 24″ Mixed Media on Gallery wrapped canvas.

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