Tuesday, 1 July 2014

The Biggest Painting Mistake You Can Make

Unwrapping my Christmas gifts a couple of years ago was like....well, it was like Christmas! My husband had decided to set me up with a large selection of art supplies and one by one, he and my children presented me with beautifully wrapped gifts of canvases, paints, brushes, sketch pads, pencils and an easel.

Art supplies are expensive and disposable income barely exists in our household. So it didn't phase me that my new stuff was cheap. In fact, I embraced the quantity versus quality concept knowing that my alternative was to get 2 out of 3 of the canvas, paint, brush combination. Despite knowing these weren't the best products available, I still had the same awestruck feeling I get when I walk into Kikki K, everything new and shiny; I spent hours just looking at it all, not daring to open the items for fear of them losing their intrigue.

Once I finally took the plunge some weeks later and began using my collection of goodies, I never looked back. That is, until recently.

You see, as it turns out, you get what you pay for. Well we know that, I've said it many times to my children when they've insisted on buying a $3 bow and arrow set or a 10-pack of water pistols for $4. But I was blinded by the desire to paint, so much so that I didn't stop to consider that this paint might simply disappear with time. With little snippets of time.

My second painting was quite ambitious. I set out all guns blazing, then fell quite quickly into a weird, resentful, self punishing shame when I realised how difficult this painting was going to be. I was painful to live with. But I pushed through it and, after many hours, I signed it and considered it finished.

My  Second Painting - Bronte Beach in Sydney.
Now, ignoring the difference in photography (the first picture taken at night on a Blackberry (pfft), the second in natural light on an iPhone), have a look at the difference in colour within each painting. Specifically, look at the grass area on the right hand side. And the ocean. It's as if the blue didn't want a part of it anymore and just  moved on out, leaving the yellow to hold the fort. Luckily none of the beach goers were wearing blue swimmers or they'd now be stranded there naked.


Curious as to how much time has lapsed here? 10 months. 10 bloody months. But wait, it gets worse.

The next painting I did was even more ambitious, with a new endeavour into rock pools and sunrises. I worked for a long time on this painting and I was really quite proud of it.

The finished painting back in 2013

 Now check out this little blue paint dummy spit.

The now unfinished painting in 2014

The water colour now resembles that of the babies' wading pool. Even the sunset has changed and although it might be difficult to tell in this photo, the actual horizon now looks like it was drawn freehand by a 3 year old.

I can't tell you how bitterly disappointing this process has been for me. But I can tell you that I've re-learnt a very valuable lesson. It's highly irritating that I knew this one already, I just didn't give it any credence: You get what you bloody-well pay for!

What about you? Have you learnt something the hard way?