Samuels Masthead


New Paintings - What Do You Do When It Just Doesn’t Work?

Fix PaintingWe’ve all had that experience….starting a painting with enthusiasm, only to realize part way through that the painting isn’t working.  Perhaps it was that new tube of purple you thought you’d try….or a new brush that wqs awkward to use.  Or maybe you don’t even know why the painting didn’t work….what should you do?

First, get some space from the painting.  Breathe deep and tape it on your wall….upside down!  When something is hung upside down, the errors in composition are more evident. Is the painting symmetrical? Did you create interesting shapes? Did you lose your focus? Some of these errors are correctable. More...

Now, turn the painting right side up.  Look at your values….your lights and darks and medium tones.  Can you find these values throughout the painting?  Are your dark values dark enough? Is your focus located where the lightest light meets the darkest dark? 

Finally, take a good look at your color choices.  Is this a warm or cool painting?  Are all the primaries represented? Are your colors washed out? Do any colors look glaringly out of place?  Have you used complementary colors to their best advantage?

If you still can’t find the reason the painting didn’t work, then change it up.  Do something dramatic.  In this case, I started with a lovely, but relatively hum-drum, summer landscape that I painted at the Audubon Property in the Berkshires.  My painting looked hum-drum, too.  I shifted the foreground, darkened the waters and reflections,  altered the vegetation in the back.  I tried this painting several times, but it just wasn’t working….until I changed the season.  By making this a fall scene, I was able to introduce an entirely new and vivid palette.  I simplified the foreground, taking out a large log and adding a visual pathway into the painting.  Lastly, I edited the trees on each side, picking and choosing the ones that I wanted to include.  The result is an engaging landscape that I’m thrilled to have painted.

I entered this painting in the New Jersey Watercolor Society's Associate Members Annual Exhibit and I won an Award for Excellence! The moral of the story is .....don't give up. When you feel that your painting can be a really good painting, trust yourself and stay with it.


Workshop Coupon


Winter Semester Starts
Tuesday morning classes
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Thursday morning and evening classes
Thursday, January 17, 2013

Family Art Program Celebrating Tu Bishvat
Sunday, January 27, 2013
Mt. Freedom Jewish Center
Children 7 years or older may participate. For more information, contact the Mt. Freedom Jewish Center at 973-895-2100.

Watch for Registration for Spring Classes
Mid March, 2013

Vermont Workshop
July 22 thru July 25, 2013
Landgrove Inn
132 Landgrove Rd
Landgrove, Vt, 05148
(802) 824-6673
 (800) 669-8466


Student News

Congratulations to Chris Iorio who was just made a full exhibiting member of the Essex Water Color Club

Our sympathy goes to Joan Weiss on the loss of her husband, Jay, and to Marilyn Saxe, on the loss of her mother, Dee

Best wishes to Marcia Mohl as she begins her retirement ... more time to paint.

 Margie Samuels Watercolors
 17 Boxwood Drive
 West Caldwell, NJ 07006
 (973) 403-9374

Copyright 2012
Margie Samuels Watercolor