Step-by-step painting of "Pond"

Painting Under the Influence of Peers

Or A Boring Story told Boringly

This painting started as an Art Monday grouping of 3 canvases. That is, 3 people working on 3 paintings, rotating the canvases till all 3 people got a chance to add color and interesting brush work to each canvas. It was a project I devised to get Sylvia and Terri a quick start in acrylic painting.
I began all 3 canvases as you see in Pond 1. So the 3 of us had the same drawing and non-local color beginning.

Pond 2

After all of us had a chance to pass the canvases around, all three were still looking pretty much the same.

Pond 3

The goal then was for each person to complete a painting using photo references taken from the pond in the studio court yard which included many koi and other water lilies. Each person was to add one or more subjects to their canvas. So in the 3 picture, I added another lily.
Jean declared the painting would be finished here if the bright peach color in the upper corner is covered up.

Pond 4

The changes you see in the 4th picture were all made using Photoshop. I wanted to see, without actually changing the canvas, what color needed to be covered and what needed to show through.
I did leave the peach in the upper right corner for a while just to be irritating.

Pond 5

I took the painting with me for critique to the Thursday painting group in Gold River at Kathy Young Ross’ house. Taking the advise of peers, I began to tone down the yellow background lilies. Using the Photoshop reference, I began to darken the water and added ripples and koi.
Kathy recognized that something was off about the half opened lily and suggested that I make it more full on the right side.

Pond 6

Also, taking the advice of the critique on that same Thursday, I added koi to the left of the large foreground lily

Pond 7

I took the painting with me to Sacra- mento’s Smith Gallery for a workshop with Steve Memering, I was advised to “Sacrifice” brush work and tone down the contrast in the water and darken the background lilies even more.
I thought I was saving the best for last, the addition of a dragonfly which is perched on a petal of the foreground lily in my reference photo. Steve recommended against that. However, he loved my photo of the large lily with dragonfly and asked if he could have it and the other pond photos I was using. I gladly shared them with him.
Barry, the gallery owner mentioned something about the half opened lily bothered him.

Pond 8

While reviewing the changes to the painting back at Art Monday, everyone agreed on no dragonfly. Also group discussion suggested that Barry was right. I needed to get rid of the half opened lily, which I did using Photoshop.

Pond 9

Mary Wang suggested the elimination of the koi on the left of the large lily. Photoshop again.
Back to Thursday with Kathy, I received the suggestion to put lily pads going off into the distance, which I did as well as paint out the small lily and goldfish on the left.

Now I am thinking the painting has become too simplified.

Left to myself, I went back to the source, the actual pond. After observing for a while, I decided to put the partially opened lily back, after I had actually painted it out. And I decided it needed the company of two lily buds. But does it need the dragonfly, which was my main purpose for doing the pond? Only two people want the dragonfly in this painting, Josephine and Gini. Sorry girls. That will be a diffenent painting.

During a follow up critique with Steve Memering, who by the way never had an issue with the small lily, I received the suggestion to calm down the receding lily pads. I had originally painted them as bright and detailed as the ones in front.

Pond 10

Finished? I think so.