Pastel Problems And Working Them Out

Once and for all, I pulled this picture out of the closet in hopes of finishing it once and for all. I am determined to complete it before beginning any of the next 19 paintings I have on my list to produce for a show in San Antonio next year. The problem I am having is that the original photograph I am using as reference has no image in the window background and I am having to create something new to put there. This picture was taken on our "floater" in Baffin Bay. A floater is actually a cabin that floats on the water. It is tethered to a pole that is anchored in the water so that it is free to move around depending on the direction of the wind.

So, I decided to paint the image of the bay in the background outside the window. But something just didn't look right about it. And since I didn't have anything to compare it to, I was stumped. So this is how I solved my problem:

• First, I took a photo of the painting and turned it into a black and white image so I could see the values clearly.

• Second, I played with the background image (on the computer) making it lighter, then darker to see what value needed to go there. I decided to make the water darker in the foreground and lighter in the back ground and added a darker streak to create some interest. To me it looked like the wake of a boat that had just passed by.

Problem solved!
I had to take the image back down to the basics of values in order to see what was lacking. Now, I have a blueprint of proper values to guide me through the completion of the painting. And once I did this, I saw other areas of the painting that needed some "ooomf"! Keep this in mind if you can't figure out what your painting is missing. Most of the time, I bet your values need tweeking.

Do you have some insight to share on how you go about problem solving when things just don't seem right with a painting you are working on? I'd love to hear your thoughts.


  1. Good job Jeannette, I like it very much.
    I often have to make things up on my paintings too, it's a challenge, but when they work, THEY WORK!!
    Love it.

  2. Thanks, Jeanette for this post. You reminded me of things I forget to do. We get in a rut, don't we. Great piece here. Wonderful light.

  3. love this post!! I need to do more of this kind of "working advice" thing on my blog, but i never seem to have the time...

  4. I hear ya, Rita. "Time"- never, ever enough of it! Thanks for your comment and congratulations on your recent awards!

  5. Thanks so much for your comment, Rae. I saw your recent post where you put 2 images together to create your painting - you know exactly what I'm talking about.

    And, good to get your thoughts, Jo. You are so right.I get in a rut painting the way I do, I forget to step back and check my work. Just reminding myself about the values totally solved my dilemma. Thanks for your input!

  6. Turned out beautifully - thanks for the tips.

  7. Thanks for your input, Karen. I enjoy getting your feedback.


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