'Recovery' 24x33cm oil on canvas board ©Joshua Lance

oil on canvas board
©Joshua Lance

In the past, sometimes you do a painting from life, which is still the best way to paint. Life complements life in the work. But then what happens if your painting turns out a bit dull?

Throw the dang thing out?

Or resurrect it from the depths of dullness?

I chose the later this time.

To rescue, first you have to put the painting out of mind, out of site for a while. Maybe a few days. Come back to it and see it with a fresh eye. Then determine what needs fixing. What’s the first thing your gut tells you to do? I would listen to that first.

For this painting, my main issues were that despite being painted in a post-typhoon setting, the grey skies or clouds can have a damp effect on the rest of the painting. But it doesn’t have to end that way!

Though I am committed in painting from life, I believe you have to add your own life to it. That’s what makes you individual and unique. Make the brushstrokes count, every single one of them.

Make the contrasts more visible, especially the mountains. There are layers of colors and need better separation. Then bring harmony to the painting. What is found in the sky, put some in the water. Put some of the mountains in the sky. Get it? Create a unifying harmony.

It makes me notice that I better start with smaller oil studies and then work from there. Later make it into larger paintings. Maybe that’s the way to go, everyone has their own way of doing things. But I’m starting to figure my way out too.