Recently I had a very satisfactory interaction with a friend and long time patron. He was interested in an older painting from 2015 which had never sold. It was a local scene from my reference photo-
I love this view. I pass by it every time I drive home. While low tide paintings are not that popular, I love the marshes when they are almost empty. The channels of the creeks are so interesting. Yes there is mud, but it changes almost from minute to minute and the reflections and shadows can be beautiful.
When I decided to paint this I immediately wanted to do away with the wall of trees. Marshes show best when there are long views, but not all of the long views have such an interesting channel of water. So again, you have to combine references or use your imagination.
Here is my painting from 2015-
I wasn't exactly a slave to the photograph. I made the distant trees recede, added a river that isn't there (it is on the other side of the island) and enhanced the colors of the grasses. However, I didn't consider changing the foreground. When it didn't sell after a time I took it out of the frame and put it away though it was still on my website.
My friend saw it and decided he wanted it. After I delivered it he remarked that the left lower corner of the painting bothered him (the flow of the creek didn't look right) and wondered if I could do something about that. Well of course I could! Truth is, I hadn't looked at the painting critically in a long time.
Here is the problem- there is a very sharp curved edge on the left lower side between the mud and the water. It literally dumps the viewer out of the painting along with the water- not good! To make things worse there is a big value shift there, again not good for the corner of a painting. The grasses do nothing to mitigate this.
Here is the re-do-
This did not take much time. I used my Art Set Pro app to try out some things before painting on the canvas. The edge and big value shift are now gone and the creek flows smoothly, leading the viewer into the painting and off to the distant trees and river.
Bottom line- pay attention to every critique. A small change can make a big difference. Keep reviewing those older paintings. I must remind myself to do the same.
PS- thank you George!