View Full Version : Struggling

04-27-2003, 07:37 PM
hi everyone

i am working on a new painting and i put it aside for now. i am not sure i should go back to it.
can anyone help me and tell me what is lacking? i don't like the coral, i hate the entire background...

any and all suggestions would be great! i really need help on this one if i am going to continue? it may be a lost cause though.
:crying: :rolleyes:

04-27-2003, 07:39 PM
i forgot to attach the painting:rolleyes:


04-27-2003, 08:02 PM
Hi Sarah, Your as self critical as me! I often hate my paintings half way through and put them away and then go back to them at later dates...though looking at yours I just thought 'wow' and 'bugger all wrong with that'! what you have to ask yourself is what did you imagine the background to lookl ike before you painted it and if there is anything you can do to correct it.. sometimes i I know there is something wrong with a painting but can't put my finger on wots bugging me.. so when i go back to it after a break it hits me.. either that holding your picture to a mirror and seeing the 'reverse' image is like looking at it for the first time and you can usually see the mistakes straight away..

Patrick Marion
04-27-2003, 08:02 PM
Okay...I'll give it a try.

The coral on the upper right has the same size shapes.
Just vary the size and shapes for more interest.

Personally...I like the background and think it might
look even better when the fish are done. Nice light
behind the fish gives the sense of looking up to the

The coral again...It seems to be such a strong dark shape
and wants to pull my eye off the paper on the lower left.

I thought of curling it around the lower left corner but
still feel that it would pull my eye out of the painting.

I'm stuck too.

04-27-2003, 08:18 PM
omigosh Sarah, it's hard to think of you having to struggle...

I love the background...not your usual, but looser...lighter - I like it...

The dark is too dark I think.... can you lighten it, give it a more underwater bluish/greenish seaweedy feel ?? The foreground coral is lovely...

And, if all else fails and you don't want to continue, I'll send you my address - you can send it to me so I can study it.... :D (I'm not kidding).... :D

04-27-2003, 08:20 PM
hi Patrick
i can try varying the shapes of the coral. that is a good idea.
i just feel like it is not going as it should be. i just don't know why.
thanks Dazzer. it does happen that i don't like a painting but i am not sure this one is worth finishing, even later on.

04-27-2003, 08:25 PM
thanks Faafil :)
i do struggle, a lot!
i can try to lighten the blackish color but i am not sure how it will work.
the other coral is not done yet. i know that needs a lot of darks too for depth. i just can't get in to this painting anymore.

thats funny about sending it to you. do you want to finish it :D
i probably won't for a while.

04-27-2003, 08:28 PM
LOL Sarah... I meant so I can study your technique and colors, not study how you could finish it... :D I'd never in a million years do it justice if I tried to finish it... but I'll pay the postage !

04-27-2003, 08:34 PM
hi Faafil :)
the painting is just not working out as i wanted it to. what i hate most is that i am wasting a piece of Fabriano paper:mad:

you could paint it well, i am sure!

04-27-2003, 08:43 PM
I'll buy you a new sheet - you send me this one... :D

04-27-2003, 08:49 PM
hi again Faafil :p
you don't need to get me a new piece of paper! it just makes me mad that it was wasted!

04-27-2003, 08:54 PM
I think it's looking really good. But, (alas) it matters only how you feel about it. Feeling is everything, if your heart isn't there, don't waste more time on it...:mad: maybe in a few weeks or months you'll see new possibilities & get excited again. If you're like me, working with a bad attitude = uglyness...

too bad...

04-27-2003, 08:58 PM
Sarah... you are such a talented young lady... You always make painting look so easy! Because I don't have one tenth of your gift, I have difficulty understanding your disappointment... But... disappointed you are and there's nothing I can say to make you feel better just now... The only piece of advice that I will give you is wait for a little while... Then, take a look at your picture with a fresh perspective... If you still feel uneasy about it, decide what you want to do....

It is possible that you need a change of pace... After all, you just finished a wonderful fish painting... Do something else and then come back to this one...

After a little while if you still can't see your way to finish it, mail it to Faafil!!!

04-27-2003, 09:12 PM
thanks CharM:)
i guess i can put it aside. i did start drawing the commission i have to do for Father's day.
i think it might be because of what you said, that i did just finish a fish painting. i am still going to put it behind my floor screen though. then i don't have to look at it for a while. that is where all of my the failure paintings go :rolleyes:

thanks Karen. i agree that the bad attitude means ugly painting.

04-27-2003, 09:28 PM
Hi Miss Sarah, sorry to see you're struggling. I started a wc painting of the home my oldest son and his wife built a couple of years ago, got angry with it and taped a piece of paper over it and didn't look at it for at least 2 months!

Just set it aside and come back to it later.


lyn lynch
04-27-2003, 09:50 PM

Let it go for a bit--out of sight and out of mind if you have such abborance against it at this stage; or,

Since you deem this work spoiled, why not experiment. Remove the masking and begin your centers. Don't do anymore on the b/g until you have the lights and mid-tones in the center. This work has more b/k dark than you generally use and that may be throwing you off.

Normally you do the b/g primarily and then move to the center of interest, so this a bit of departure.

04-27-2003, 10:03 PM
Sarah, aah! I knew you were a perfectionist--I recognize the symptoms--high achiever, very talented. I think you have a spot of burn-out and agree with all of the above that a mini-vacation from fishes might be in store!!!

Remember, as I've heard folk say, it's only paper!:evil:

Just turn it over and move on.


04-27-2003, 10:35 PM
I've not had time to read others comments so perhaps I'm repeating here - sorry if so... I think the colored patterns in the background are not as strong and larger (?) than in your other piece... so you might be missing the stronger/darker colors ? as for the coral, I think they could use some darker shades as well. This is the suggestion part or critique part - but - still a lovely start I think. Always good to see your work progressing. jti

04-28-2003, 03:12 AM
Can't advise, Sarah - it looks perfect to me - can't wait to see fishes!


04-28-2003, 06:11 AM
thanks Doug.
it might take me so time to get back to the painting though?
thanks jti. i am keeping it behind the floor screen and saving it for later.
thanks Lyn. i don't have burnout but i am doing something else right now to get away from the fish.
thanks Auntie Fookie. i am going to use this advice later but i thought since it isn't working, i would start the flags painting i am doing for a commission. :)
thanks Emilie :) did the painting work for you later?

04-28-2003, 08:35 AM
Sarah, after a bit of a rest, just paint in the fishies, it will all come together then and whatever needs to be fixed will become obvious.

04-28-2003, 09:27 AM
If my background looked like that, I'd quit too...not because I hated it, but because I would have achieved far beyond my abilities and anything else I did would only mess it up. I'd frame it and call it "Ghost Fish"

I had an opportunity to visit a local watercolorist (the first one I've met face-to-face) in her studio over the weekend. She had just recently finished a painting that she had started 4 YEARS AGO!! She said she was never really happy with it and would continue to "tweak" it over the years until she finally sensed it was finished. So, you have a ways to go.

I should post one of my efforts (struggles, really) to boost your confidence--you'd realize yours is actually quite excellent :)

As a (partially) rehabilitated perfectionist, you might be a little too hard on yourself...

take care


04-28-2003, 10:19 AM
Hey Sarah....Yes, it's finally working for me. I'm not very good with perspective yet, and I spent last week in Sherman helping a friend and I stayed with my best friend, Sheri, who has an "eye" for that sort of thing, and I painted while she said "it needs------ over there and --------over here, and so on... It's sitting on an easel on my work table right now and I'm pleased when I see it except I did it from a photograph & I left my car in it, for all the wrong reasons:evil: , and now I have to deal with it!!!!:p

04-28-2003, 10:39 AM
Hi Turtle33

I missed your work completely. I love this piece and went and checked out your other paintings . My jaw is still on the floor . I absolutely love fish. Goldfish have to be one of my favorite.
My Gosh you are extremely talented. Keep up the good work.
Will be watching your post closely, there is so much to learn from you. Thanks for sharing.

04-28-2003, 10:46 AM
One more thing. What I think is happening is what usually happens to me when I am painting roses. I do the background and the painting gets to the stage where you think , oh this will never work. I had this trouble with the one I am doing now. If you can get past this point and get some of the fish painted , I think you will find it is going to work out just fine. Good luck. Learn from this one if nothing else. Push your painting to the limit and try new and unusual things and you never know you may end up with your favorite painting.


04-28-2003, 11:00 AM
I'll tell you what my art teacher always says when I am doing a painting and say I don't like it. He says - give it to me and I'll finish it for you LOL. Now there is now way I could paint as well as you, but heck I would love to get what you have as a start - so send it over here. No need to send me a new sheet - I'll just take this one LOL

04-28-2003, 06:53 PM

a piece of paper isn't wasted at all if you have learned from it, even it you learned not to do it in a particular again. your work is wonderful. your talent for your age is exceptional. before you trash is send it my way. i'm 53 and hope i can come close to your talent in my journey to learn. please keep posting for our enjoyment of watching your journey.


04-28-2003, 07:10 PM
hi Dave
i am not sure what i learned from the painting other than i just don't like it.
from what i have been reading it might be a good plan to paint the fish and see how it looks. at least, i could try painting one fish?
everyone here are great artists! i have no doubt about that :clap:
karen, i think that many people paint different but it does not make anyone's painting better or worse than anyone elses. some like to paint loose, some with pale colors, some paint tight and controlled, others like to be more abstract. i think that is what makes that artist, their own artist and their own signature, in a way :) everyone is so funny about sending them the unfinished painting! i wish i could send it to all of you!
thanks Sandy! i am glad you like my work :)
maybe after this commission, i will paint one of the fish and see how i like it?
cool Emilie! i am glad you are back at painting the portraits
that is too bad you left the picture in the car though! can't you get it back somehow?

thanks Darren! i really appreciate your insight and i dobt i will wait 4 years until i paint it or try but it is behind my floor screen right now.
thanks Uschi:p

04-28-2003, 07:36 PM
Sarah............... I agree with everyone.................which is unusual in itself :D SO wont add anything except a mundane question...

What the Heck is a Floor Screen ? :D

04-28-2003, 07:45 PM
Sarah, what I was trying to say was that I was painting a picture of my son's house from a photo of the house....my car was parked in the circle drive in front of the house in the photo, and I included it in the painting.....my reason for leaving it in the painting isn't very nice, but it's too late now!!!...:evil: :p

Bad Girl Emilie

04-28-2003, 09:16 PM
I like the Background , and maybe u could had some soft Color on the Rose and Shadows it would make it Pop. I do that too with Paintings put them away then take them out again or do it over again.

05-28-2003, 11:07 AM
Even though this tread is a month old, I've just found it and I'd still like to add my comment. Especially because the picture was said to be put aside for a while anyway...

I really like the background as an abstract painting. I think the reason why it might not work here is that it is quite light, warm and transparent. So it does not 'feel' like deep under water. I suggest darkening the background while keeping the different colours (but then the fish will have to be light) and adding a hint of coolness, so as to create contrast with the pink corals in the foreground.

It also seems to me that the background is not framing the subject - that the eye is led outside the painting when following the strong diagonal line from top right to bottom left. Perhaps making the background even darker at the bottom left part of the painting would help. Or 'growing' the dark weed on the left taller.

Anyway, I'd love to see this painting finished.


05-28-2003, 11:14 AM
I totally agree:

Sarah, after a bit of a rest, just paint in the fishies, it will all come together then and whatever needs to be fixed will become obvious.

I turn mine to the wall for awhile and come back when I regain my inspiration, otherwise, I ruin them.

This is such a wonderful piece, you should let it rest until you feel like finishing it.

No way is it ruined!

05-28-2003, 11:16 AM
Welcome to WC Veronika! Very helpful comment you just posted for Turtle Sarah.

Sarah, did you ever go back to it? Can't remember :).

05-28-2003, 11:20 AM
Thanks, Sarah. I am glad I found this site.