It seems like every painting has an awkward stage. It’s that stage where everything doesn’t look quite right and you don’t know if it’s going to go bad or get better.

I have to attribute this to a lack of focus. Actually, I would say that 85% of the time when a painting or drawing goes bad it is due to me losing focus.

To be more exact I would say that the work that I did this session on the lower back is not looking so good. This area doesn’t have a clear volume plus the brush work is confusing.

The awkward stage
The awkward stage

If I look at a detail of the painting and remove all color I see that the lower back has some clear transitions in value. But I think some of these transitions are a bit too abrupt.

The more I look a the grayscale of the painting I see that the biggest issue is the middle of the back. There is no clear transition of value here and the rendering is confusing.

the awkward stage, grayscale
Grayscale Detail

Well, now I have a clear direction of what to focus on when I return to this painting Sunday. For now I’m going to do some life drawing from a real model and let this painting sit for a day.

The awkward stage, detail


The awkward stage, setup



  • Session: 1526
  • Work: 1226
  • Width: 28"
  • Height: 18"
  • Medium: Oil
  • Location: Home
  • Art Time: 2
  • Creative Time:



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Chris Beaven

I am an Artist and a programmer currently living in the amazing state of Washington. I have a passion for art, but I'm stubborn as hell with it. My day is complete only when I do some piece of art each day, no matter how small. "There was a dream that was Rome. You could only whisper it. Anything more than a whisper and it would vanish, it was so fragile."