All art copyright (c) Mike Kloepfer
"The level of achievement that we have at anything is a reflection of how well we were able to focus on it."
-Steve Vai

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Don't give up! (A lesson learned...)

I was working on a color study today. After spending almost an hour - way too long for what I intended - having laid in the basic form and shadow of the hair, face and background, it seemed like nothing was happening. What's more, it seemed that I had a long way to go to bring it to completion. The portrait was really more about structure and value than about color. And, as the image stood, it was kinda dull, kind of uninteresting.
I was about to say "enough is enough," set it aside and move on. However, I decided that I would gain more from finishing out the study, by following through and seeing what happened.
75 min
Acrylic on primed paper
Click here for reference

I am glad I did.
I discovered that, even though it seemed futile at the time, I was closer than I had imagined. And by finishing the study, I also came to understand what was really going on in the image, what it would take to bring it to a finish, and what it would mean if transposed to a larger painting. What was lacking was not color - it is a pretty low-chroma image; the color relationships are downplayed and subtle. In fact, the colors needed to be dull. I just hadn't put the accents in, and the piece still had a little more effort left.
And it gave me an opportunity to do some fun things like the 'lost' and 'found' edges of the hair.
What I ended up with is a nice little portrait study. There are some good things happening in it, and I'm glad I pursued it to the end.
And what I gained was a little more experience (i.e. competence,) and a whole lot more confidence. 
The experience reminded me of a story related to me, regarding W. Edwards Deming and the 'red beads' experiment:
Most people give up and stop, just before succeeding - or just before improvement. 
And that is what color studies are for: learning and improvement.


Traepischke said...

Very cool. Your work just keeps getting better and better.

Mikey said...

Thanks, Trapper! I feel better and better the more progress I make. Still, it's hard to be objective...
So it's very nice to hear.