Oil on canvas panel, 12″ x 9″ (Larger)

I wasn’t satisfied with the way this painting turned out the first time I declared it done so I worked on him again. I fixed some drawing problems (as much as they could be fixed this far along), lightened the street, darkened the background and the street signs, and worked on his face again. It’s not perfect but it’s enough better that it won’t keep bugging me to finish. Now I can move on to the next painting.

Here’s the way it looked before:

The Surveyor in the Lavender


Before I had a blog I’d work on paintings for a long time, adjusting them until they were as perfect as I could get them. Since blogs require constant feeding, and because I’m trying to do lots of paintings to get more practice, I tend to declare paintings done and ready to post maybe sooner than I should, since I go back and work on them again. Perhaps I should just call them all “works in progress.”

On the hand, since a painting can be worked on endlessly (especially oils), I suppose it would be possible to redo the same painting over and over, learning a little more with each attempt, until you eventually were a skilled painter who’d made ONE really good painting. Certainly authors do that with books: they’re only done when they’re published. I’ve heard artists say that a painting is only finished when someone has bought it and it’s left your studio.

Anyway, this one is done and I’m excited about the next painting. One more to add to my stack of learning opportunities!

Art theory, Oil Painting, Painting, People, Portrait

Join the conversation! 7 Comments

  1. Oh, Jana! This is phenomenal! Those darks and face enhancements really made this one ZING!!!! GLORIOUS!! And yes, I agree — everything we do — is a work in process!


  2. I can see you asking him to hold still in the middle of the road with traffic backed up for miles.


  3. It has so much more LIFE now! You made him POP! I like the way his face turned out. I’ve noticed that I do the same thing; post and then start seeing little things I want to fix…


  4. I love the contrast between the bright yellows and the darks in the background. There’s a wonderful quality to the light.


  5. I also like this one…it has great depth and contrast, accentuaing that light on his face.


  6. Perhaps that need to rework and rework accounts for all the paintings out there by famous artists which, when x-rayed, reveal paintings underneath them.

    I love this painting, and am enjoying browsing here as I came across you via Bloglily’s blog.

    I’ll be back.


  7. Well done! I can so totally relate to the experience of needing to feed the blog and move on. Now that I’m mostly painting in acrylic and can work on it forever, I know what you mean about it being so hard to stop! THe unfinished ones are piling up around me, even with the blog going.


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