The photograph below is a picture from a trip to the north woods of Wisconsin –with my favorite subjects-rocks and water.
Photographs are just an inspiration for a painting. In this case, I made the background less important compositionally by eliminating some of the background rocks. I extended the foreground to create more negative space, and so that the movement in the water and the reflections created more depth in the composition. (My September blog goes into detail regarding positive and negative space).
However, I stopping painting half way through the process because I was not satisfied with the direction it was taking.
I don't like to do the same painting over if the first one is not successful. But because I liked this subject matter, I decided to paint it again the next day. I followed the composition from the photograph and changed the colors.
Once again I stopped the painting half way through because I did not like the colors or the contrast.
Every one has heard of "writers block" but is there such a thing as "painters block"? I think so. Changing subject matter, changing color combinations, or just working through the painting process sometimes helps. But sometimes nothing works.
It was time for drastic measures —I switched to oils. Painting in oil forced my brain to work differently. In watercolor you paint light to dark. In oils you paint dark to light. Even the still familiar process of mixing oil paint and turpentine made me mentally approach the painting differently. It worked. I was very pleased with the final outcome in the painting below.