Finishing Touches

Last weekend I completed a 12×9″ oil painting of the harbour in Cape Town, with Table Mountain in the background.

I’m always eager to share my paintings as soon as they’re finished, but most of the time, I look again after a few hours, or the next day, and invariably find something to add or change.

Here’s the version of the painting I posted on Instagram after I “finished” it:

"Harbour Under Table Mountain" - Not quite completed

“Harbour Under Table Mountain” – Not quite completed

And here it is a day later, after I applied the finishing touches:

"Harbour Under Table Mountain" - 12x9" Oils on panel

“Harbour Under Table Mountain” – 12×9″ Oils on panel

Can you spot the changes? (Aside from the second image being brighter overall, that’s just because it’s a better photo)

Firstly, in the large red building on the right, I made the front surface get lighter in value towards the bottom, which gives the effect of strong light being reflected into the shadow side of the building, emphasising the glowing light effect in the centre of the painting.

Then I decided to make the mast on the white boat a bit thicker, as I thought it looked a bit thin initially, almost more like a rope than a mast.

Finally, I noticed that I had made a glaring omission – I forgot to paint the reflection of that mast in the water. It wasn’t obvious at first, but it looks odd when you realise it’s missing.

Those three small tweaks really tied the painting up for me, and now I can really call it finished.

In future, I need to learn to wait a day or two before posting paintings online!

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