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 Why change a painting? Alan Brain recalls some examples…

Sometimes, after you think you have finished you decide to change a painting. It can be months later, even years –  that itch to alter it some, develops into an irresistible urge and inevitably you go for it!

And sometimes you get it wrong and the painting is abandoned, but sometimes it works for sure and you are pleased you did it; other times you just don’t know. Such is life, each painting is an experiment after all.

Here is a recent example…

abstract painting - cold place

abstract art – cold place

I wanted to create a cold place to be and I think I succeeded but it is not a particularly interesting painting.

I do like the shapes however with one rectangular cutting out another at an angle

I gave myself permission to change a painting and have fun with it to the point of destroying it. I surprised myself when I did it this way. Turning the painting on its side after it was finished was exciting. Not cold anymore but very hot, almost surreal artwork which was not intended.



Here is another recent example…

I painted this in 2012 and it has been hanging in my studio for much of that time. I got irritated with the “diving board” and the general scruffiness of the piece; so I just had to change it

Passing Through, Original Painting by Alan Brain

abstract painting Passing Through

And here is the result (I just could not help change the colours some )

payson arizona a painting called passing through

Another attempt to change a painting…

I was quite happy with this watercolour called “Slipped” but after a while I was convinced it lacked real interest. I decided to go for it

changing a painting slipped

The large dominant rectangle was somewhat boring and not really representing something interesting or of real value. I did after all want to express something damaged by slipping, if what has slipped has no value then who cares if it is damaged!


I added texture to the large box in a gold colour which should add interest and a sense of value. I hoped 🙂 The small yellow rectangle was a bit too dominant and I liked the idea of adding a “window” so I reduced the intensity but left a yellow vertical to suggest a window.

Then I added a reddish border to part of the rear rectangle to give a sense of depth.

And lastly I wanted to suggest the large shape had hit something causing the cracks, the very small shadow is all I could summon up the courage for. But I think it is sufficient.

Job done. Am I pleased I changed it? Oh yes.

Here is another example of before and after the change,  it is a watercolour painting –

original watercolour painting are you invited

original watercolour painting for sale. Texture and luminous colour create this art

original watercolour painting Invited?

Invited? modified

Why did I change this painting? I thought the first one was too friendly. The shape behind the big blue rectangle, and particularly the figure behind the table, was not convincing me that you are intruding into a rather seedy environment. So I have attempted to make it more seedy and to make you cautious to enter his world.

Do I prefer it to the first one? Yes. Is it getting the feeling I want? Not yet, not in full anyway – I may change it again in a few months 🙂