I am probably my worst art critic when it comes to critiquing my work. I scrutinize my work for quite a while before I deem it is satisfactory. Lately I've been looking back at some of my earliest works, and thinking about what I would have done differently now, with more experience, than I did with my weaker, earlier works. I thought it would be interesting to "rescue" some of these earlier works and post the results here.
I know many of you are afraid to change or alter your painting after you think it is finished. But, the truth is, you can change, alter, even wash off a completed painting and start over, if that's what it takes to make a better result.
This first example is one of my earliest watercolors. The subject is the old adobe Presidio in Santa Barbara, CA. Painted on an 11x15 sheet of Strathmore 140lb cold press.
The original painting, I thought was OK for the time (2004). but now I look at it and realize the sky is too boring and bland. There's not enough contrast between colors, and the shadow colors are too warm.
The first thing I did was too moisten and lift some clouds out of the sky. Because the Strathmore paper doesn't take too much abuse, I had to add chinese white with a little aureolin in it, to get the desired results.
I had to rework the trees after altering the sky, and I added darker shading with some cadmium yellow highlites.I changed the shape of the lollipop palm trees also.
Next, I changed the shadow color on the building, with a mixture of ultra marine violet and cobalt blue. Darkening the area under the roof overhangs especially. I added some reflected roof tile color onto the wall using light red.
I darkened the bell arches as well.
I darkened the roof tiles using light red and a touch of cadmium red.
I added the exposed adobe brick to the walls, to give them an aged look.
Lastly, I added more foreground shadows, suggesting a foreground tree out of view, and added a couple more chickens to balance the left side.
I think you'll agree, the revised version is more pleasing, and I hope I have given you ideas to help strengthen your own compositions and paintings.