Sunday, 26 December 2010
Saving the boat
I created this watercolour over a period of time. It was one that I sketched out on a half sheet (15" x 22" ) of 200lb paper a few months ago, then abandoned it for awhile. I haven't slept well for a few nights so was up very early (4am!) and decided to play around with it again. Kind of kill or cure.
I added layers of wash to the water and detail to the little dory to bring it to a more finished level. There are flaws in it, but there are also ways around flaws if I want to preserve this piece from the bin.
1. Composition. The boat is dead centre of the painting. Dead centre is called so because it makes the painting uninteresting and doesn't let the eye wander around the piece, picking up other elements.
2. The horizon line. I painted this on a fairly flat surface without standing back as much as I should to see my progress. As a result, the horizon line is tilted upwards on the right.
So how to correct this? Instead of scrubbing back and risking making it worse, simple crops can help save this piece.
The first option is to eliminate the horizon altogether, concentrating on the dory and the water. This isolates the boat and doesn't give any options to the viewer but to look at it, but still has the challenge of a central focal point.
The second option is to crop from the side as well as the horizon. This knocks the focal point (the dory) off centre and allows the viewer to examine the changes in values in the water, sending the eye around the painting and back to the dory again.
The crop can be from either side depending on how much space there is. In this option, cropping the left doesn't allow a lot of space to the right and brings the dory into the foreground more, reducing the overall size of the piece.
Which would you choose?