Re-Working an old Watercolor Painting

I have several drawers of old or incomplete paintings. Some are paintings that I’m not quite sure if they are finished (isn’t that an artists true dilemma, but I will save that subject for another post). Some are paintings I did in my beginner years that I save to reflect on how far I have traveled as an artist. Some are paintings that either went horribly wrong or I got over enthusiastic while painting and found myself lost and having no clue as to how to finish what I started.

While digging through the drawer I came across an old painting of Hydrangea and although it is about 10 years old I decided to re-work it to see if I could improve it.


This is the original painting. I love the color, shapes & texture within the painting but felt there was nothing keeping the viewer’s eye from drifting off the edges. From one side of the painting to the other everything looks the same. A large mass of similar petals with no value changes.

before & after Hydrangers 1


Starting at the top I darkened the right corner to allow the flowers to come forward & give the illusion of depth in that area. By adding a midtone wash to the top left the flower edges appear to be in sunlight. I negative painted dark shapes in the center of the painting to break up the flowers into individual blooms. Along the bottom I painted a darker color as I reshaped the flowers.  Lastly, I created a shadow within some of the blooms to pull some petals forward & push some petals back.

before & after Hydrangers 2_________________________________________________

Now there is much more interest along the outer edges of this painting which prevents the eye from drifting out of the painting. The darker corners better frame the subject matter. The darker negative shapes help distinguish the flower blooms making them more interesting to the viewer.

I would say that this is a big improvement from the original painting I did many years ago.


If you are like me I bet you have some old paintings that you could re-work using the skills & knowledge you’ve gained through the years since the painting was started. It was fun to re-think this painting and find a new way to approach it. I know I have grown and learned a lot in the past years but by doing this exercise I proved to myself that I am on track to being an even better artist as time goes on.


Paint with Me




~ by Lorraine Rimmelin on January 19, 2015.

8 Responses to “Re-Working an old Watercolor Painting”

  1. Wow, Lorraine! I love your post… you are so in love with your work and it shines through in topics like this one. Your enthusiasm and passion is contagious and the “before” and “after” is lovely.

  2. It’s always helpful to leave a painting and look at it with a fresh eye sometime later -it’s amazing how we can then suddenly see what need to happen to make it look ‘right’. Although 10 years is a little long . . . 🙂

  3. fantastic how you redid it

  4. Thanks Debbie. Always fun to hear from you 🙂

  5. Hi Rebecca,
    I save all my old art. For me it’s a great way to visually see my past. I agree that 10 years is too long to re-work a painting. I had a hard time painting on paper that was that old!!!!
    Thanks for your comment, Lorraine

  6. Thanks for your comment. I am so glad you liked the post.


  8. Thanks Peggy, I’m glad you see how much better the re-worked painting is. Now I’m looking through some other old paintings to see what I could redo!

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