I’m almost finished with my painting. It’s time to step back and look at the whole composition to see if I’m satisfied with it. I’ve been working so hard so hard on capturing all of the myriad details that it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. I decided to take a look at the photo I took way back when I was composing the set-up to see if my painting captures that spirit. Below is the photo.

The first thing that struck me was that in the set-up, on the far-left side, a triangular bit of orange board was visible. This was never intended to be part of the painting. The plywood board I had set my objects on was too short, so I placed this other board there to lengthen it, thinking that I wouldn’t show it in the finished painting. Also, the striped edge of the plywood was visible on the right, and I had propped up a piece of gray board under it to serve as a vertical surface, and to cover the contents of the shelf below. Again, I hadn’t thought of these elements as part of the finished piece. Looking at this photo next to my painting, I realized that they were important to the composition. Without the orange triangle on the left, the eye falls off of the left side of the composition. Its presence guides the eye back to the center of the painting. The striped edge of the plywood on the right adds interest and echoes the stripes in the gold mirror section of the vase, as well as its reflections on the wall.

Above, I have painted in these changes. The front edge of the plywood board on the right looked unconvincing. I thought that maybe if I painted a cast shadow under it, it would look more natural. I decided to experiment with my value study before I tried this on the painting. Below you can see the change. I thought that it looked better now.

The orange bit of table on the left was bothering me. It seemed strange that the table would so abruptly change color with no good reason. I decided to paint it as though the tabletop ended there and dropped down, showing a striped edge like the one on the right side.

I still need to glaze the new shadow on the right and probably the new area on the left. I’ll let the painting dry for a week before I do this. I think I’m happier with the composition now.