Thursday, March 16, 2017

Painting Update: Brass Teapot With Grapes

So, I've been at it again.  I've updated three older paintings in the last few weeks.  I don't know why I get in this mood sometimes, but I've learned to just go with it.

I originally painted this a few years ago.  As usual, I thought it was good when I finished it.  But, over time, certain things about it started to annoy me.  I repainted the background a few months ago and then kind of forgot about it as I got busy with other things.   A few weeks ago, I was feeling frustrated with my current works and decided to pull this one out.  I decided either I would make it work or paint over it.

I started by putting another coat on the background.  With these Innerglow Boards, you have to make sure you have enough coverage and I clearly did not.  After the background was done, things started to perk up and I focused on the other things that I did not like.  Namely, the fruit.  There was not enough fruit to fill out the canvas (it's a 16x20) and it was not done very well.  Actually, the only things I did like were the brass pot, which I did not touch, and the cloth.

I started with the fruit.  The oranges needed more work and I was never thrilled with the arrangement of the grapes.  There were grapes on three quarters of the painting, but nothing over on the right side. It felt a little unbalanced to me.  You want the viewer's eye to travel from left to right, and I didn't have much action happening on the right side of the canvas.  Also, I was not feeling the red and green grapes.  It just felt like too much, so I figured, why not take the leap and get rid of the green grapes.  I painted them out and was already happier with things.

I also added an orange to the blue and white bowl.  Things already felt more balanced to me and I continued on with the oranges.  To perk them up, I lightened the lights and darkened the darks.  With the darker shadows and highlights, they started to look like round, juicy oranges.

However, something was still gnawing at me and I could not figure out what it was.  I was very close to just taking a rag full of black paint and wiping out the whole thing when it hit me.  The cloth was the problem!  While the color and pattern were good, it needed a few adjustments.

The issue was that the whole cloth was painted the same.  The front edge needed serious lightening up and the front plane needed some light under the edge.

Once the cloth was completed, things finally started falling into place.  Of course, I then decided that I was not happy with the white bowl.  Luckily, that was a pretty easy fix.  I just painted it out with my "fake white" colors and let it dry for a day or two.  I then painted in a new blue pattern that I made up as I went along.  The reason I had to make it up is because except for some oranges and grapes, I did not actually have any of these pieces in my studio!  This was one of those times when having years of painting under my belt really helped.  I knew what had to be done and was able to do it, even without the props in front of me.

Brass Teapot With Grapes, 16x20, oil

Here is the finished piece.  I'm very happy with it now and so glad this all worked out.  I'll soon have a post up detailing the other two reworked paintings.  If you have any questions about reworking an old painting, leave them in the comments.  I'd love to talk about this.  Does anyone else redo their old work?


  1. Frances! believe me you are one of the finest painters i have every seen. your work is amazing and stands out among the rest. the strokes are highly visible and the colors are used in a perfect way to give natural affect.