Personal Art Blog

Sharing the lessons I teach at the Artist Guild and the personal discoveries in my art.

Monday, January 29, 2018

How I changed an old painting - repost.

Classical still life  AFTER changes

20"x16"  oil on canvas  - unfinished

FIRST Version - below

This was painted
after taking a
workshop from
Qiang Huang and I was quite pleased
a few with areas of it but this was
back before
I started to use my
Fracturing Technique.
The only parts I
liked were the
brush marks
on the lower cloth.
I copied exactly what he did
because I love Qiang's brushwork!
After some time
the analytical part of my brain kicked in.

Look at the way
it is all lined up.
what was I thinking!
Have to learn to watch
out for the tangents.

I lightly sanded
the old surface then
rubbed a little
linseed oil with a
small amount of
Gamsol added.

I changed the
shape of the vase
 into a pitcher so it
would curve into
the painting and also
moved it in from the
edge. I lowered one
of the peaches and
got rid of the middle
lemon in the small
bowl.  I brought
forward the base of
the small dish holding
the lemon slices by
making it deeper so
it no longer lined up
with the grape.

Then I made the back wall
lighter so the jug would fit
into the passage of light.
I needed to move the
eye around and away
from the top right of
the painting so I
added a slice near the
left edge. I intend to fill
out more of the eucalypti
stalk later. I added fresh
paint all over so I could
start to fracture.

At this point the painting starts to speak to me and I listen.
I have to ask myself what I like and what I do NOT like.
Looking at it in the mirror I decide I should dump it.
BUT...darn it, I have a class I am doing this in front of
so  I will have to ...
excuse me,
but I cannot resist...Keep Calm and Carry On!

I realize I do NOT like the dark area of grapes PLUS
the lower two dark corners. It was like having an arrow
pointing down off the bottom!

What to do? Does it matter?
I decided it did - if only as a valuable learning experience.
I wanted more color...and for it not to be so stiff.
This was a personal taste issue more than correction.
I already had some clementines
so I changed the grapes into an orange and lemon
then automatically the peaches appeared to change
just by using the leaves to make them become clementines.
I took the cloth all the way to one corner and
added the fringe to break up the large dark area
...still to be perfected.

The image above shows developing the fringe.
I ended up taking it further back on the table
Placing the glass over it first to make corrections
on the glass see if I would like it

I know I have to do some finessing in
several areas to satisfy my
unresolved feelings about this painting.
I think we all have paintings like this and it can be
a great way to discover our reactions to many
aspects of our artwork.

In my case - style change and knowledge growth.
Look what has happened on the glass since I did the very top
pic. An "off with its head " moment and got rid of the fringe.

Made the background lighter too.

 Will this EVER be finished...

Does it matter? That is the important question.

Am I enjoyed playing around with it?
You betcha! I learn a lot by risking ruining a painting than
having the attitude of trying to save it, just to sell.
Maybe this one will never be completed.
But as a learning experience, it was very informative.


  1. Whew, I'm mentally exhausted! Love the changes, explanation and thought process. Again, you've provided food for thought Julie along with viewing a lovely revisited painting. Thanks you.

    1. Hi. Blanche. I bust out laughing when i read your, Whew- mentally exhausted. I am amazed you got through it all. Pat on the back plus a gold star.
      I thought most artists wouldn't bother to read it. They say the length of our attention span has diminished. This should prove it.
      Have s great week! Oh, snd thank you.

  2. Thanks for walking us through that, Julie. It reinforces what I already know I must do: that one day I must start painting images rather than just copying them. I must change the trained draughtsman (draftsman) into a painter who challenges his methods.

    I have only painted 65 paintings in my life, so I have a way to go yet. But not one word of your in depth analysis is wasted here ... nearest I get to having my first lesson :)

    1. Maybe it is only 65 paintings...but your drawing skills are unmatched and that is certainly the hardest part of painting for a realist. I had four years of enforced drawing and then through the many years since, BUT, I still cannot do what you can do!
      I am pleased you read all the way through. Shows me you are serious about learning.
      Your posts about getting the boat upright are fascinating but I worry about you hurting yourself. Be careful, my friend.

    2. You must understand that I really want to do it single-handed ... I just live for the challenges!

  3. Not only did I read it, but I went back examined each photo to follow along with what you were doing. It was very interesting and I learned a lot from the process. I loved the fringe and what it did to the painting. Lots of food for thought here. Thank you so much.

    1. Thank you for a supportive comment, Sharon. Truly appreciated.

  4. I did the same thing as Sharon....I kept going back to each photo to see how you did thing. I am truly amazed. (My work is usually so thick, I can't imagine going back to sand off layers....I just start over on something else). This was so helpful to see and understand the 'analytical side' of painting, AND the fact that you were able to change the composition (and surface of the painting) so drastically!! Really fascinating - thanks!!

    1. Good point about the thickness of your paint. The original painting was done after a workshop where paint was more thinly applied, making it easy to paint more thickly over it. Even so it didn't end up too textural.
      I enjoyed your post and hope you get lots of sharing about "What is the most important thing to improve your art."

  5. Like the previous commenters, I also pored over the images in addition to reading your explanation -- all such good insights! The outstanding thought for me was: "Take a risk!" When we deny our inner doubts about a painting and play it safe for fear of spoiling it, we stagnate. What's more, we will see those flaws and cringe every time we look at the unchallenged work.
    I've certainly revisited a few paintings over the years, and as you said, I never failed to benefit from the exercise -- whether the finished product was a success or not. Since I believed I had nothing to lose, it was enormously freeing -- so I took some chances. It's when I made the best discoveries.
    Another great lesson. Bravo, Julie!

    1. We obviously are of the same mind and have benefitted from not regarding all our work as precious but more of a grand journey of exploration. Thank you for spending the time to read and share your own experiences, Helene.
      Happy painting!

  6. As soon as I read 'revisit' I zoomed down to see what it looked like originally. Didn't notice the lined up items, just that the darks seemed richer in the newer work, making the lights softer and moodier and of course fracturing injects your particular brand of energy into a painting.

    Our eyes aren't nearly as trained as yours, so this was fascinating to read, and I'll go back to some I have sitting in a corner waiting for help.

    I am so grateful I found you! I've learned a great deal from your generous teaching.

    1. Thank you for saying that, dear Lauren.
      We have been blogging friends a long time now. I am grateful too.
      I am so impressed that all the comments from everyone show a connection with learning so I will repeat that you have posted a great link to exceptional videos by Marco Bucci. Click on Lauren's name above to go to the information.

  7. New version is so much more dynamic! Thanks for sharing your process!

    1. Thank you, Kim. Dynamic fits your beautiful Kimono painting. Congratulations on the recognition.

  8. Wow! Thank you Julie ... this was an amazing post. We are always learning more!

    1. Hi Teri. Wow that is a complex painting you have started. I am looking forward to following each step. Love the start.

  9. Wow! I love the changes, Julie. Your explanation is wonderful too. A very good exercise in patience, for sure. Hope you are having a great start to this new week.

    1. It isn't patience when you are engrossed!
      Congrats on the new jeans and I loved your poem.

  10. I really appreciate your leading us through the changes you made and why you made them! This is so much richer and intriguing than the original. Love it!

    1. Thanks, Joan. I think so too. I even made a couple more changes before I was persuaded to part with it.
      I got a kick out of seeing those odd windows in your latest sketch.

  11. Dear Julie - what a super post. Your great experience teaches me so many wonderful things - tangents...values...leading the eye around and so much more. How I wish I could take one of your workshops. You are so kind in sharing your knowledge. Bless you friend. Hugs!

  12. I love your painting- I was drawn right away to the fringe and how delicate it is, and the way it drapes over the table edge. It's gorgeous.

  13. The second time round is definitely YOU , while I wouldn't have recognized you in the first version. Both paintings are fabulous though in their different styles.

  14. Great post Julie! Thanks for sharing your process of reworking a painting step by step. Great tip on placing a glass over the piece to see if the change would work, I will definitely try this. My favorite line is at the end when you just gave me a new perspective on reworking to play and learn rather than thinking rework to save and sell. Thanks Julie - love your work!

  15. I love when a successful transformation happens to a painting. New version is a thumbs up.


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