I am finally sick of it. It would have been so much easier, and probably more fun, and certainly less stressful, to bang out one of my animal and plant multi-layered bright paintings. I cannot believe how tired I am tonight. I literally rolled out of bed and started working and knocked off at 8:30 pm. Im still not finished but any major work is over and it is all finessing and tightening up now. Win the prize? I hope I can even get in the show. I had some technical problems that set me way back. Am I sorry I tried to paint Flannery? No, and I am looking forward to another large painting of somebody -maybe Harper Lee - in the near future. So. What went wrong?
When we left off on day 5 I had not yet painted the feathers on the peacock tail. I did, and I liked them okay but they were too bright and too strong for the rest of the painting. I needed to take the brightness of it down and added and overlay of sheer circles and texture with a spray of droplets. I liked it better, but realized this evening as I knocked off, I need to curve that tail even further toward the right of of the board.
Fittingly, it was putting in the devils that started my troubles. I deepened the background color and free painted these creatures, drawing heavily from the Bosch style of demons:
It looked fine until I began to paint layers of sheer color over them with the idea being that eventually the devils would be taken down to a very subtle presence. But it started to rain and the paint didnt dry as fast as I was used to and when I laid the next layer down, the paint stuck to the dried areas but lifted off the paint where it was wet leaving a very unattractive mottled surface. It was so humid everything was sticky and difficult to work with. I kept trying to work around the situation but could not get the paint to do what I wanted. I dont know that much about acrylic to begin with. As an illustrator, my medium was gouache which is very different. But you cannot paint large pieces with gouache. Eventually the background got too dark and it looked horrible.
See how uneven and smeary the color looks? no matter how much I tried to match it or fill surrounding areas to even it out, the paint wouldnt stick or it would be too dark or not match. I was extremely frustrated and sat before it trying to decide what to do. Here is a close-up of the mottled background:
This is not acceptable. Not only should a painting be an interesting image, but the surface should be a thing of beauty and in some way indicate proficiency with the material. I failed on this part and made a hard decision. I scrubbed the surface with nail polish remover because it contains acetone. I was able to get most of the sticky layers off but was left with a horrific surface but at least it was able to accept paint.
This morning I woke up and scrubbed the surface again with soap and water and tried to paint around the figures and bring the background into something, if not even, at least pleasing. It didn't work and I realized I would have to cut my losses and gesso the background back to the beginning. So I lost at least a half day of work.
I tried again to work in the devils and demons and gave up after 2 hours. Then I tried to make a pattern instead by laying branches of an ash tree on the background and spray painting yellow. I waited for it to dry and it never did. Instead, it made like a powdery surface that I could just wipe off with a rag. It looked pretty though, and had it dried, I couldve layered that (it was sunny and dry today) and had a pretty background. Instead, I had no choice but to paint the background a solid color. I have a little darker tinting on the edges, but not much. Its very flat and I am disappointed.
I worked on Flannery's face, arms, the peacock and tightened up some of the water. I also added the thing on the crutch that LX noticed I left off.
*sigh* I can just say it was a hard week at work. I will show you the final art tomorrow. Thanks for joining me on this journey!