Giverny – Wipeout!

Well, I shouldn’t have called the painting gods “persnickety” in my last post. In my effort to paint the reflections of the trees into the pond, the painting lemmings swept me over the cliff of inexperience. I knew things were going to be tricky since I’d made the mistake of laying in the lily pads before the water reflections, but figured I could dance around them and do some touchups afterwards. WRONG! 


My assessment of the causes of the Giverny Disaster of 2014 is as follows:

1. Arrogance or ignorance, or in this case, both! Not sure what I was thinking not doing a few practice sessions with water reflections prior to trying my maiden attempt on an actual working painting. 

2. I knew what to do in principle, had seen demos, and it seemed pretty straight forward. However, the actual execution has nuances that only practice can reveal.

3. Pretty sure I used paint that was too thick. I’ve read post-wipeout that water reflections should be done with a thin layer of paint. Not sure if that’s true, but thick clearly didn’t work for me, so sounds right about now.

4. Used the wrong type of brush to do the vertical and horizontal dry-wipes that would give the reflected images that shimmer. 

5. Even if the technique had been sound, and I had figured out how to deftly get around the prematurely painted lily pads, I had the colors of the reflection images wrong (pretty close though), in large part because I did them in completely separate painting sessions from when I painted the actual trees on the bank of the pond. Not a big deal, but I think it’s something I should remember for next time.

6. Panicked! Rule #1 of painting, at least for me, is don’t panic. Its supposed to be relaxing as the creative juices flow, but when I ran into this problem, instead of just walking away and coming back another day, I started guessing and made hasty decisions.

In the end, I wiped the disaster with a paper towel and spread the remaining paint around the canvas. While it can’t be “saved”, I’m pretty sure I can come back to this wipeout in the future and get it right. Gonna chalk this up as one of those steeps in the learning curve, and a clear indicator that my best painting is done with wine in hand. Cheers!

2 thoughts on “Giverny – Wipeout!

  1. Pingback: Practice Session #2: Alhambra Reflection Success! | Impasto

  2. Well, i shouldn’t be laughing — but it all sounds so familiar!! A little disappointing, i know — but sounds like you’ve turned it into quite a learning experience. Sometimes the steepness of the learning curve can be really quite shocking! Good job — Wasn’t clear to me what you will do next with this painting. Are you going to start over with the reflections? Don’t forget that one of the big advantages of oil painting is that just about anything can be fixed.


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