I have a hard time making up my mind sometimes. Well, not really a hard time, but I can be indecisive on occasion. Well, not indecisive, more like wishy-washy: which is kind of like indecisive, but more like take-it-or-leave-it. Anyway, I did something I rarely do to a painting I did recently: I made a major alteration. I usually have a pretty clear idea of how I want my painting to look, then I try to make it happen. The idea may be poor and my decisions the wrong ones, but I generally don't notice that until long after I thought the painting was done. This one was a little different.
This past August, my beautiful partner Ellen and I went for a trip along the Maine coast. One of the stops we made was in a small town near Bar Harbor named Blue Hill. It's a lovely town nestled under a prominent hill (could it be Blue Hill?) and it also has a nice harbor. On the way out of town I took this picture:
I instantly knew I had to paint this scene. At the time, I was renovating my studio, so it had to wait for a few weeks, but I finished the painting in mid-September.
You may notice I made a couple of changes. First, I turned the road back into the picture, instead of it leading your eye off the left side. I also pushed the tree line on the left back, and opened up a field in the center of the scene. I like the idea of shadows across the foreground, making the viewer look into the painting. Alright, I thought-- I'm happy with this. But something started to gnaw on me. I stared at the painting for a few days. Do you think that road is a little heavy on the left? I asked myself. I knew the answer. I had to change it.
To make sure I wasn't about to step into a huge pile of self-inflicted dog-doo, I made a print of the painting, and painted where I thought the road should go. Satisfied that I was doing the right thing, I made the changes.
Did it help? Does it look too contrived? I don't know. I like it a little better than the way it was, but... I just don't know. I kinda like the way the upper line of the road mimics the flow of the hill. But was it such a huge improvement? I can't say. No harm, no foul, I guess. One thing I know for sure: next time I'm faced with this indecision I'm going to firmly commit to one idea-- or the other...