Revising Old Paintings

Have you ever looked at one of your paintings from several years ago. All of a sudden you see errors you didn’t notice before? Or maybe you wanted to add something new that didn’t occur to you when you first painted it. It is the heart of December. It is already very cold and snowy.  I am suffering some culture shock from not being accustomed to our Canadian winters. I am feeling shut in. With all this time on my hands, I am taking a critical look at many of my earlier pieces. I getting into some revisions.

I have completed a number of these revisions already but finding a day to photograph the new version outside has proved very tricky. It is either too cold, too windy or too dark due to fog, snow or lack of daylight. So below is one recent example of my revisions that I have been able to photograph on a balmy 10 C. day.

Triple Dance, 24 x 30 in, mixed media

Triple Dance, 24 x 30 in, mixed media

Triple Dance was originally painted in June of 2011 when I was very into painting a series of dancers. I was never very happy with this one even though I showed it in several shows. (I probably don’t need to tell you this is a big “no-no”. Unless you are completely satisfied with a painting, you would be advised to keep it under wraps.) Display only your best work! So you know the old adage, don’t do as I do, do as I say. What is wrong with Triple Touch? See if you can find the flaws before you read on or scroll down.

I find the main figure awkward. The dancers look static especially the central one. The other figures don’t recede enough and aren’t well drawn. Should I go on with my critique?

Triple Dance, 30 x 24 in, mixed media

Triple Dance, 30 x 24 in, mixed media

Triple Dance, 24 x 30 in, mixed media, revised Oct-Nov 2013. I decided to add the white and dark sweeping and wavy lines to increase the movement and eliminate the stiltedness of the figures. I flared the skirts and added wispy wraps. I gave movement to the hair on the principal dancer. I changed the proportions of the figures and made changes to the faces.

What do you think? Is it improved? If it were your painting, what else would you do?

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5 Responses to Revising Old Paintings

  1. Jean brickell says:

    I would not change a thing in the final version. Just wish I had accomplished this but it certainly
    Imports ideas. Thanks. Jeanb

  2. Kathy says:

    Hi Shirley, it’s very interesting to learn about the nitty gritty of the creative process. I like the improvements you’ve made, and the final version is definitely improved, but I wouldn’t have noticed the “flaws” without you pointing them out. Your commentary helps me try to look more critically at paintings…thanks!

  3. nora ritchie says:

    The improvement is amazing! Loved your lesson. I’ve be been feeling very cold myself……are the winters getting colder or is it us?

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