...so I finally finished this commission I was working on - and it made me feel accomplished in a technical sense... I mean, I was working on details like the shadows under the fronds of day lilies, and the texture of a split rail fence, the reflections and sparkle on the lake, achieving atmospheric perspective as the water's ripples stretched into the distance, tree texture... all that stuff that makes one of my paintings look "real" (whatever that is)*. It was getting to be 3:00 on a Friday afternoon and I really wanted to be done with this one today so I just kept myself chained to the drafting table (metaphorically) and powered through. I don't like to think about painting that way, but sometimes it just is. However, it's not like I think this painting is just work... I think it really came together and is a sweet little painting, in spite of the fact that the customer took three years to decide she actually wanted it and then two photo shoots, three compositional options and four months later... TODAY, as of 4:30, I can say I am done with the boat painting. woot! (Well, there's still the framing...)
Anyway, about feeling technically accomplished (or maybe "able" is the better word)... because I kept working on it for a series of hours, I saw the painting emerge almost entirely today. *The "real" comes through with the 'balancing' that happens after all the details are studied: the final work I do after all the sections are complete when I sit back and squint my eyes to take away the details and decide that, for instance, this green is too pronounced, that area needs to be darker, or that yellow is too intense, these ripples need more definition, etc. I actually slobber over (with a brush, of course) detailed areas with additional layers (some call them glazes but that always sounds like something you do to a piece of pottery, NOT a watercolor) of color or value to make it all work together - such that all my details, although important, don't take over the unified composition. It was kinda cool to see it emerge from its parts into a whole (because this commission had elements from many different photos) and as the values settled in at the end, real-ness was accomplished.