Friday, January 28, 2011

Tweaking a Painting

I’m guilty. I admit it! I never know enough to ‘leave alone’ and have been busily ‘tweaking ‘ my current paintings.

Which leads me to the big question……when is it time to put the painting on the shelf and leave it alone? How do other artists decide? I have a friend who paints frenetically with abandon for an hour or so and …. Voila ….. masterpieces every time. Never revisits the finished canvas, never tweaks .... seems to know exactly what it is he wishes to convey and doesn't 'sweat it' when not satisfied -- simply 'bins' the work.  Oh how I wish!

I know of someone else who works sort of ‘piece meal’ and takes considerable time to finish a painting but never ‘tweaks’; rather leaves what has been previously painted.

It must be in the planning, perhaps I need to sketch more; although my first friend mentioned doesn't sketch but does have a definite ideas in mind. 

Every time I look at something I think is ‘finished’ I see a further change. I need someone to stand outside my studio door who will skirt the painting off somewhere so I can never ‘change’ or ‘tweak’.

Anyway, for what it’s worth. Here is the result of ‘tweaking’ my earlier waterfall.  I've attempted to 'break up' the solid wall of darkness in the forest area and added more swabs of colour to the rocky outcrop on the left.  Apologies - the photograph is not showing changes too well.  Must replace this 'water logged' camera.


  1. Ruby, it is beautiful and finished! I seldom tweak myself, just make a new and improved one!
    Who was it, Monet, who painted the same haystack seven times in different light?

  2. Stop! Now on to the next one. No matter how they come out you are learning and the more you do while conciously striving forward the better you get. This is in reference to your last post too. Probably the values were a little too much the same in the background. But again sometimes it is easier to start a new paintiing and work on things from there. Always learn and paint paint paint.

  3. I agree with Gary..if you question whether it is finished..stop, put it away and start another. I think we believe each painting has to be a masterpiece..wish they could..but that said..I like your relax and go get a cup of coffee...

  4. o the curse of tweaking. which leads to, for me, a mess! Georgia Okeeffe used to turn her paintings to the wall when not painting. i do that, too. Otherwise i will keep going back to tweak it.

  5. Ruby are you ok no posts and nothing for so long