I’ve begun prepatory work on a new series of paintings. Changing subject matter has been quite daunting - naturally it came hand in hand with a fair amount of uncertainty. When working in your usual style with subject matter you are long familiar with, you know what tricks or “safe” aspects to fall back on in order to complete a piece. Treading unfamiliar ground you do not have these old tricks to rely upon, but must be open to trial and error.
I created this little watercolour as a “prototype” for the new series of ghostly portraits. I was thrilled with how it was looking till I ruined everything by adding the wreath. I much prefer the progress shot I took when the figure was still bald - I feel the wreath made the piece cluttered and busy, distracting from the silent intensity of the child’s empty stare.
Sigh! With watercolour it is not so easy to correct such a mistake. I have two options: to leave it as it is, hoping it will grow on me; or to do something drastic, like paint out the wreath with white acrylic paint, transforming it into an eerie halo around the child’s face.
None the less, I’m glad that I created this small prototype to experiment with what works and what doesn’t before I attack a full sheet of paper.
Which state do you prefer, pre-wreath or post-wreath?