View Full Version : To the brink of mud

09-20-2008, 05:33 PM
It seems lately that I 've been taking my paintings to the brink of mud,that "almost muddy" state where subtle color and value reationships begin to agree to coexistThe funny thing is Thats the place where I can really begin to "see "where the painting can go. I guess i'm saying that I really have to mess things up then pull them in a little to get what I want.Does anyone have a similiar experience or am I just wacko.?

09-20-2008, 07:58 PM
Well, I'd love to say that you're just wacko, BUT, it seems that is the process with pastels. There is definitely an ugly stage - then all of a sudden everything falls into place. Really. I mean it. :)

09-22-2008, 08:35 AM
Yea, there is a definite stage where ugly seems to happen, and then , you move on to a different plane.

09-22-2008, 09:47 AM
All the time! I've (almost) learned to live with it, and am trying to get to where I want before all grain is filled to overflowing.

Maggie P
09-22-2008, 05:36 PM
I was talking about the "ugly" stage in one of my classes once, and mentioned that it seems all pastel paintings have to go through that stage, but if you stick with the painting and don't give up, it gets better.

From the back of the class, a woman said, "It sounds like the teenager stage."

That's what I call it now. It fits -- it's all gawky and awkward and problematic, but stick with it and it will grow up to be beautiful!

09-22-2008, 10:08 PM
Ha, Maggie "the teenager stage" thats a great description.It seems I wrangle my paintings all over until they have a seasoned sensitivity from being through so much, yeah sounds like life to me.Thank goodness sanded paper can take the abuse or I'd go broke.I rarely have to toss a sheet.

09-24-2008, 02:38 AM
I find it to be a real act of faith to add that first stroke after you find yourself thinking "This isn't going well at all!" But I am always glad I proceeded . . . .

And I have even started going back to my unfinished pastels, finding most of them are in this stage >>duh!<<< and I have been taking them to completion. I guess sometimes this "ugly" stage just lasts longer than we think it will . . . or should . . . :o

09-24-2008, 10:57 AM

Oh, WC comes through again just when I needed it! :heart: :heart:

It is so good to know that others have been there, done that, and survived!
I find I'm getting to point in my paintings where by the time I get "almost finished" I know what I should have been doing all along! :rolleyes:

Maggy, that is so right...Teenage! :lol:

Since my art "studio" shares space with my music "studio", whatever is on my easel or propped over in the art area, is very visiable to me as I practice each day and come and go in the room. I get to a point where the painting just is not "going". That is when I know, now, to stop and let it "cook" awhile. Returning to the room a couple hours later, I view it with fresh eyes and less emotional drama. Hey, that is not so bad!

I find that often I mistake the painting with just a couple layers as not going well, when it is really ready to just move to the next stage and layers.

I'm working on this lighthouse painting! It is of the Presque Isle lighthouse in Erie, PA, where I spent my childhood. My parents' good friends, the Weindorfs, lived in the lighthouse. Last summer I photographed it and did some sketches. There is this sort of childhood magic point as one walked up from the beach to suddenly see the lighthouse up the bank.
Well....It was NOT going well yesterday! The balance was all off...the sand and beach grass was not looking right. So I left it for awhile.
As I practiced my violin later, I realized the white tower of the lighthouse was sort of floating above the house and did not connect to the beach area, path etc. So....I'm going to "rotate" the house a little by making the tower side full to the ground....I'll use Deborah Secor's white eraser idea and see what happens....:wink2:

Thanks All for being "Real" and helping me move on! :clap: :heart: :clap: :heart:

09-24-2008, 12:55 PM
Lol There is that ugly stage. When I first started pastels, I would do a pracitce painting to make mistakes & learn on & then do a "real" version. I don't do that anymore but often have an ugly stage where you wonder if its' going to turn into something good.

Paula Ford
09-24-2008, 01:11 PM
Yup, every one of my paintings goes through that stage. When I realized that, I stopped throwing them in the trash :lol: :lol: :lol:

10-11-2008, 08:38 PM
I thought I was the only one bumping into the Ugly Stage. What a relief to have company.

10-11-2008, 09:33 PM
This is so great. I have often found that something I hated that I thought was lousy would come out great later on after a "fix" that was probably just its next natural stage. It's good to know this is a common process and I'm seeing something natural. So many "bad" things I did turned out to be just "unfinished."

I started noticing it more in critiquing other people's work because if I knew what I'd do next, it didn't look ugly to me. It had an unfinished look, that was all. Then of course the best reason to critique applied. When I'm honest and gentle with other people, it forces me to look at my own as if I was critiquing someone else and see that it's not so bad.