Renovate, Revamp, Renew – Painting Over the Past

February 18, 2013 § 12 Comments

This weekend after organizing my painting archives I thought it might be interesting to breath new life into some older artwork.  I chose to rework a simple painting from 2008 from a series I made of theater stages. This particular piece had a straightforward composition of two red curtains framing a theater stage with a backdrop of red Italian hills.

Theater Stage with Tuscany Backdrop, 5 x 7" (12.7 x 17.8 cm), Oil on Panel, 2008-2013

Theater Stage with Tuscany Backdrop, 5 x 7″ (12.7 x 17.8 cm), Oil on Panel, 2008-2013

Once dried it will be touched up, signed, varnished and available on my Etsy site.

Painting rework on the easel in my studio.

Painting rework on the easel in my studio.

Mmmm a palette of Cadmium Red, Burnt Sienna, Raw Sienna, Earth Green, Sap Green, Yellow Ocher, and Naples Yellow.

A palette including Burnt Sienna, Earth Green, Yellow Ocher, Naples Yellow…

Repainting a piece that you are not attached to can feel fresh and invigorating– as long as it doesn’t turn out like this.

Also, for the sky I enjoyed using impasto– a painting technique using thick layers of paint to reveal brushwork and texture.

Italian landscapes demand impasto.  And possibly pesto.  Mmmm pesto.

Italian landscapes demand impasto– and possibly pesto. Mmmm, pesto…

Changing brush sizes

I used a large brush for the impasto (ample amounts of thick paint) on the sky.

The reworked painting pre-re-work.

The reworked painting pre-re-work.  Zzz…

Back by popular demand studio companion Scratch relaxes on a ceramic tile.

Back by popular demand– my studio pal relaxes on a ceramic tile. Looks comfy, Scratch!

Thank you for reading!  Feel free to comment.  <<<>>>

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§ 12 Responses to Renovate, Revamp, Renew – Painting Over the Past

  • I love that you show us amateurs your process. I’m constantly learning, so I am so appreciative.
    Thank you for sharing.

    • Mike Schultz Paintings says:

      Thank you for the comment– I appreciate it. I feel like there is always more to learn with technique and art making in general. In fact, half of the time I sit down to paint it feels like I need to learn it all anew. Thanks for sharing your photography and writing. <<>>

  • Your reworked painting is lovely… and an unequivocal improvement. It’s so fresh looking that it causes the viewer to question whether it really is a stage backdrop or a large window in the back of the theater looking out on the countryside!

    • Mike Schultz Paintings says:

      Thanks, Gabriel– I appreciate the comment. It was fun to paint using intuition rather than having every detail of the painting already planned out. I’ll post a follow up image of this one once I touch it up and sign it. Also, thanks for the feedback about the window / backdrop flip. I wasn’t entirely sure how it would read…

  • oliverowl says:

    Hi, Only certain kinds of paint can be reworked, I’ve heard, like oil, and others that are thick, but not watercolors, is that tight? What about pastels?
    I do the same kind of work with rewriting… old stories and essays, poems sometimes, too. We are always seeing things from a new perspective, as we ourselves grow. Love keeping up with your progress!

    • Mike Schultz Paintings says:

      Thank you for the lovely comment, Oliverowl! While it is true that watercolor can not easily be painted over I am of the opinion that nearly anything can be transformed into something else– in one way or another. It is certainly easier with a medium like oil paint and (maybe especially, words). I agree that we change and our perspective and artwork evolves with us. : ) <<>>

  • Very cool to see you at work. I’m actually retouching some of my short stories this month so I could really relate to the process of breathing life into something stale, and also how having learnt a lot about writing over the last year I can really bring old work forward in a way that I wasn’t able to see when I first wrote it. I really like the layers in this painting – the gradient that is visible in the sky and the way the nearer hills stand out from those behind. Then we have the stage which both leads in and out of the picture, and the curtains as that reminder that we are the voyeurs and the view is a privilege that has been given to us. Lovely work.

    • Mike Schultz Paintings says:

      Thank you for your kinds thoughts about this painting. I was in fact thinking a lot about windows and voyeurism when I first made these stage paintings– that and the idea of pictures within pictures.

      I agree with you and see reworking a painting as exactly the same as reshaping a written work. There is also a phenomenon I have noticed (especially when reworking an older project) in that sometimes I will attempt a process that I haven’t done for a couple of years and for some reason will be more adept at it simply because I am older (I think). It is confusing that this could be true, but seems to be the case.

      Anyway, I appreciate the comment and look forward to reading some of your rewritten pieces. <<>>

  • I’ve been thinking of going back and touching up some of my older pieces (tighter outlines), but it feels like such a hassle that I havent done it it yet. Sigh. Maybe I should. What did you change in this piece?

    Really like the sketch behind the kitty.

    • Mike Schultz Paintings says:

      Thanks for the comment, Janine. I changed / repainted the entire picture actually… If you look at the somewhat blurry photo above the cat image you can see the painting before-the-rework. (…and since posting this I have repainted the entire surface *again* and will be sure to share an updated image soon.)

      Which pieces of yours would you touch up? It can be fun! But I’ve also found that if I’m not in the right place to do it reworking a piece feels like I am “hiring myself out” to complete a job just for the sake of completing it– which can be a drudgery. Drudgery? Yes– drudgery!

      • Yes! I lose the excitement you have when you are finishing something new so it does feel like a bit of drudge work. I did botch something in my sketch book and painted over it. That worked out well as that excitement was there and the thing under it was crap.

  • oliverowl says:

    The thicker paint recalled my memory of the time I was in the Art Museum in Amsterdam and saw for the first time, actual paintings done by Van Gogh. The prints of his work cannot begin to show the lush thickness of paint and the motion of his brush strokes! i was awe-struck!

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