Correcting Painting Disasters

Correcting a Painting Disaster -©2016 Cathy Read - People Crossing the Millenium Bridge Working title -50.1 x 67.2cm HR Work in progress sky detail

You know what I mean? You’ve spent hours on your picture, then something disastrous goes wrong.

Artists need skills for Correcting Painting disasters.

Whatever the error might be, an essential ability for anyone who has ever raised a brush, or eyedropper in my case, is correcting painting disasters.

OK, maybe not disasters as such, but sometimes paintings don’t work as planned. And when they don’t you need to get creative.

Like with this painting of Millennium Bridge over the Thames.

Here’s the graphite image masked and ready for painting.

©2016 Cathy Read - People Crossing the Millenium Bridge Working title -50.1 x 67.2cm HR Work in progress
©2016 Cathy Read – People Crossing the Millennium Bridge (Working title)

The picture was working well.

As you can see on this close up detail of the St Pauls section. They always look so grubby at this stage. That’s not the disaster, although it took me a while to realise that.

©2016 Cathy Read - People Crossing the Millenium Bridge Working title -50.1 x 67.2cm HR Work in progress St Pauls detail pencil
©2016 Cathy Read – People Crossing the Millennium Bridge (Working title)

Even once painting started, things were going well.

As you can see in these colour close ups.

©2016 Cathy Read - People Crossing the Millenium Bridge Working title -50.1 x 67.2cm HR Work in progress bridge
©2016 Cathy Read – People Crossing the Millenium Bridge (Working title)

I decided to experiment with the sky

That’s where things went awry. The ink came out much darker than planned. I was hoping the salt and water would diffuse it and lighten the colour, but it didn’t. I wasn’t convinced it worked and after I’d removed the masking at the workshop,

I was even more sure I didn’t like it.

©2016 Cathy Read - People Crossing the Millenium Bridge Working title -50.1 x 67.2cm HR Work in progress sky detail
©2016 Cathy Read – People Crossing the Millenium Bridge Working title -50.1 x 67.2cm HR Work in progress sky detail

So I played a bit more.

I added white ink, one of the few times I ever use white. I also added salt and used a spray bottle full of water to start the inks blending. Correcting a painting disaster can be terrifying but, after I’d fiddled around, I ended up with this. I left it to dry.

©2016 Cathy Read - People Crossing the Millenium Bridge Working title -50.1 x 67.2cm Work in progress sky detail 2
©2016 Cathy Read – People Crossing the Millenium Bridge Working title -50.1 x 67.2cm Work in progress sky detail 2

After cleaning it up, I have this!

©2016-Cathy-Read-People-Crossing-the-Millenium-Bridge-Working-title-50.1-x-67.2cm-
©2016-Cathy-Read-People-Crossing-the-Millenium-Bridge-Working-title-50.1-x-67.2cm-

Much better!

All I need to do now is decide what to call it. That and arrange for framing.

If you’d like to learn some more tips to liberate your painting skills,

Why not join me at my next workshop?

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2 Replies to “Correcting Painting Disasters”

  1. Your paintings are great. I love that you shared how to correct a painting it’s nice to know I’m not the only one that makes mistakes sometimes 🙂

    1. Thanks Melinda! We all make mistakes at times but with experience we learn how to use the mistakes to our advantage. That or live with them. Mistakes can open up a whole new avenue of creativity if you can live with the uncertainty.

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