Something good in something bad?

Today I made a trainwreck of a painting.

I started out making a nice, calm, grassy mountain scape, and was very pleased with the way the painting was going.

As confidence grew larger with each brush stroke, I decided to put in a nice, calm creek in the bottom of the painting. Just to finish it off with the last touches.

Easy peasy, right?

As it turns out, not at all!

After putting in the first rocks of the creek I could feel the whole painting falling apart.

It just didn’t look good.

So, how to save the situation?

Why, start adding more stones and grass in an aimless, panicking way of course!

Just get some paint on there and hope for the best…

Well, that’s what I did, and – as it turns out – it ended up as a trainwreck of a painting.

I’m a bit embarrassed to show it, but this is how it ended up:


It almost hurt my eyes taking the picture, but as I did I saw something I really liked.

When I looked back on it I was really appreciating the way the sky and the mountain ended up.

I’ve been having a tendency to paint clouds in a kind of 2D-state, not having any volume or originality about them at all.

These ones were much more real looking, with an appearance of stretching out over the mountains.

The way the shadows was playing around on the grassy mountain sides was also pretty nice, I thought.

So, what the hell, let’s just crop the picture and be happy with the way the top half turned out.

I guess I’ll take it as something good in something very, very bad.


18 kommentarer om “Something good in something bad?

  1. I don’t think it’s a trainwreck, really, but I can sure identify with that sense of panic and dismay. I’ve had so many similar painting experiences. Like you, I’ve learned to look for and appreciate what good I can find in even my worst paintings. I’ve always believed we can learn much more from failure than from success. Happy painting!

    1. I do agree, Judith. And it’s just recently that I’ve been able to take the time to actually appreciate something in a painting I’m displeased with. You’ve mentioned it in some of your posts, so I think I may have learned it from you 🙂 I seem to forget it sometimes, but since I started painting there’s a lot more paintings that has ended in the trash than on the wall. And I guess that’s why some of them turn out the way I hope. Because you learn some things on the way 🙂

      1. I sometimes look at all my «bad paintings» sitting here and there in the house and compare that number to the few «good paintings» on our walls or on display through the art association, and I shake my head. I probably end up with 10 awful paintings for each good one I finish, but at least I do occasionally finish a painting that has some merit, so for me, that’s a huge accomplishment. I sometimes wish I could get to a point where I would be pleased with every painting I do, but that’s not likely to happen. Mostly I look for whatever good I can find in those bad paintings, and as you’ve seen, I re-use them to practice different things. I’m going to be working a lot more on drawing and painting buildings, so it’s fun to grab those bad paintings and re-do them. Yes, we do learn things along the way, and the more mistakes we make, the more things we can learn, right?

      2. That sounds very familiar 😀 I have the exact same hope, about getting to a point where every painting turns out alright. At least that all of them would be able to hang on somebodys wall somewhere 🙂 I’m nowhere near that point as of today, but I guess our standards increase for every painting that turns out good. So maybe we’ll never get there? I know that two year ago I would be a lot more happy with some of my paintings than I am today. Re-doing the paintings we don’t like sounds like a good idea though, if I just can look learn to look past the acute disappointment 🙂

      3. You’ve made me stop and look back to two years ago when I first started oil painting. Yes, I would have been thrilled then with some of my «bad» paintings today. So, we are learning and growing, and that’s good!

  2. While I do like the cropped version, I don’t see a trainwreck in your original painting: more like an approach to parallelism, if that makes sense. Check out Ferdinand Hodler’s nature paintings, then you’ll see what I mean.

  3. It is fine, you are only starting out. Sometimes paintings take weeks. You could crop it through the blue stream, leaving out that bottom band of rocks which is putting your painting into a formulation of bands…. the foreground could be cropped, what do you think? Also, do you use a deer-foot stipple brush at all? Very useful.

    1. Thanks for the input, Anna ☺ I guess that could work ☺ I’ve never heard about a deer-foot stipple bush before, so I doubt I’ve used it. I’ll check it out though ☺

  4. I only see good things, no train wreck! I know when I was using acrylics if I felt my painting was going wrong I would leave it for a while then go back to it later and see it with a fresh pair of eyes, then I could appreciate it 😊

    1. Thank you, Elaine! That’s good to hear ☺ I know that’s probably a good plan. Unfortunately I often get so disappointed that I throw it straight in the garbage, or splash paint on it out of sheer frustration.. ☺ I’ll try to get better at that ☺

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