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Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Taking a Flat Painting to a Finished Painting

My Painting Looks Flat!!!

You've been. working on a painting and you think you're done,
(how do you ever know)
but it looks flat.

What's the problem?

Here's my example.

My husband gave me a beautiful bouquet of flowers for our 48th anniversary and of course, you know I had to paint them.
I did and I was relatively happy with the painting.

I didn't sign it though which usually means changes are on the horizon.  

The next day I was looking at it deciding if I was really done or not, and I saw it.

There was no distance between that big beautiful stargazer lily and the vase.

What to do - What to do?

I took some of the color I used for the vase and added its complement, the color opposite it on the color wheel.  I added some white and could have added more if I felt it was still too dark.
Then I made the shadow between the lily and the vase. 


Much Better.

However, looking at the petals of the lily, I realized there was room for improvement, especially with the one in front.
It also looked flat, so I took the color of the lily and aded a tiny, I really mean tiny, bit of dioxazine purple to it to darken the center and give it a deeper feel.
On the petal to the right of that, I added a shadow where the petal is turning on the top, and I darkened the other petals a little to make the center pop.  

I also darkened up the leaves under the lily as they would be in shadow also.

Such small changes made a 
huge difference in this painting.

If you're not certain if you're done,
it's always a good idea to leave it sit for a day or 2 and come back to it.  
Look it over and see if anything speaks to you.

It was just a few strokes that gave this painting the zing I was looking for.
It took less than 5 minutes once I stopped looking at the parts and began looking at the whole painting.

Just in case you were wondering...


I signed it. 

And it's available.

Anniversary Flowers
10" x 8" canvas panel, unframed
$50 + shipping

If you've always wanted to learn to paint,
 but life got in the way,
join my free Facebook group,
Bucket List Artists.

Click HERE to join.  
Ask to join and the key that unlocks the door to over a years worth of posts, live videos, hints, tips, etc., is to answer the 3 questions that pop up. 
Can't wait to see you in there.

Stay well and 
let's paint together real soon. 

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About Me

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Ghent, Kentucky, United States
I'm a nature artist and I love to paint old barns, rivers and lakes, trees and fence rows and flowers. I work almost daily. You can purchase paintings by contacting me at and there is also a tab across the top of my blog for available paintings and one for small paintings with buy now buttons. You can also purchase through my Etsy shop using the name of Fine Nature Art. . Thank you so much for stopping by.