When a painting of mine does not sell after about 6 months of being in one of my galleries, I usually have it sent home to reevaluate it unless I feel fully confident that the piece cannot be improved upon.

I thought some of you might enjoy seeing how I recently ‘destroyed’ a still life painting to make it better! Below, is the large still life oil painting – “Flowers and Feathers” originally 60 inches tall by 40 inches wide. It is was pleasant to look at, but something was bugging me about it…

I really liked the bird, but the rest of it was boring to me. Too stiff. Too decorative…too blah…

When I feel this way about one of my artworks, I get ruthless. Nothing is too precious. Sometimes, I feel as though the canvas or hardboard is worth more than the finished painting, and I end up gessoing over the whole thing! This time however, I felt like the painting had some life left in it – so here’s what I did.

  • I took the artwork, which was painted on hardboard, down to my local lumber yard and had a carpenter cut down the painting down to a smaller, 30×20 inches.
  • Chopping it down with a saw made the carpenter very nervous, but he finally agreed.
  • Happier with the way it looked already, I brought the newly re-sized painting back into my studio and looked at it with discerning eyes once again.
  • I decided to soften the table line to melt into the background which will not attract the eye as easily.
  • Next, I had to paint out the bit of vase that was still showing. I covered it with the background color.
  • I also added a bit of green to the warm background color and cooled it off.
  • Then, I glazed some of this new color over the bird and flowers which envelopes them in their atmosphere which makes the setting more believable.

Here is the original painting…

…and here is the revision!

©2010 Lori McNee, “Cockatoo & Cantaloupe” oil/board, 30×20 inches

The ‘new’ painting is now framed and hanging at my gallery in Naples, Florida! I am happy I made the changes. What do you think???

Thanks for the visit. I hope you learned a thing or two.

Lori 🙂


If this was interesting, please check out these great articles:

Save Money: Learn How to Gesso a Hardboard Panel for Painting

Painting with Acrylics, The Mystery Explained!

Water Soluble Oil Paints: Facts, Tips & Why I Use Them

Give a New Identity to an Unsold Painting

How to Rework an Old Painting and make is Sell!