This is the other painting that I did as part of my first assignment with the London College of Art.

The reference photo is by Mike on PMP – he has a beautiful series of photos set in rural China. The goal was to use predominantly cool colours with a splash of warmth to bring out the contrast.

For one reason or another I found this painting very difficult to bring together – and I had quite a few attempts at it. The main issue is that I wanted it to be far more expressive, and not be bound to the realism of the original photo, but even when I started off each painting attempt in a loose manner, I eventually found myself drawn back into adding more and more detail and moving further away from the impression that I had in my head.

My husband has a favourite expression – “…having redoubled their efforts, they lost sight of their objective….!” This perfectly describes my approach to this painting:)

This final version (for now) works for me but there is still something lacking – I am still looking for that extra “zing”, that elusive X-factor. So in all likelihood there will be a few more versions of this painting before I declare it “conquered”!


This was definitely one of those pieces where I had a high level of emotional interest which made me ever more determined to “succeed”. I think I also struggled with knowing that there were “constraints” (even though they are not at all onerous) – a limited palette, limiting the contrasting warm colour, etc and there are probably a few changes I will make if I can climb out of the “perceived box” in which I have been tackling this project. I had set myself a deadline of completing the assignment before the end of February and I know that if I didn’t stick to it, I would find myself still trying to reach Perfect Stillness this time next year.

~ by Tomorrowslices on March 4, 2013.

2 Responses to “Stillness”

  1. I know what you mean about missing something… maybe the foliage is too much the same and a little more variety could be injected there? However I do think it is really good to persevere with a subject… I know it isn’t how a lot of people want to work as they get easily bored but I find i learn a lot about something by having lots of goes and sometimes I still can’t get it right and that’s when I may put on one side and come back in a few weeks, months or even years!!

    • In “real-life’ the foliage is more differentiated, so I am not too concerned about the greens. Overall the composition should have been more asymmetrical – the bridge should have been more to the left, but I was worried about too much green on the left. My main issue is that I was looking for more “succinctness” – my husband laughs at my constant drive to be more “succinct”! But for now, I love the mountains/trees on the top left – they came together without any effort on my part, and the boat and the water reflections give me enough to be pleased about to compensate for the other areas needing some tweaking!

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, Judith – I really appreciate it.

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