Sometimes you just have to go back and fix a few things.
I don’t often change a piece of art once I have deemed it “finished”. Even if it stays on the walls in my own home, I usually leave it alone. Once I let it go, it’s done.
But rarely, I will see something that from the beginning has stuck with me as just not quite there. It has to nag at me for a while, but finally, possibly years later, I will pick up the chalk or paint brush and do a bit of editing. Sometimes I will ruin it for good, but then again…
Recently I was allowed to revisit “White Garden”, a favorite painting of mine that I did after a visit to Sissinghurst, a National Trust garden in Kent, England. At the very end of painting the scene, when I wasn’t quite sure it was finished, I added a figure walking down the path. A vision of Vita Sackville-West, the poet and gardening writer who created the garden in the 1930s.
But it always caught my attention when I looked at the work, and over the years I realized she detracted from the real star…the magical white garden. So this month, I removed her. There is a hint of white where she was. Just part of the garden. I am very pleased with the result. Your full attention is once again on the magnificent roses and garden beyond.
Sometimes a tweak is more subtle. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was bothering me or if anything was really bothering me enough to try a change. It was more a lack of energy than anything else.
A few hours later, a bit of work, and some additional strokes of conte, and it was much more agreeable to me. I’m not even sure why.
It became more complex and layered and could join the other drawings in the series with pride. Sunflowers in a field.
For now, I am happy with them.