Wednesday, May 23, 2012

New and Improved

Bookish, Nashville Downtown Public Library  is an 18x14 oil by Shirley Fachilla.

Above is the new and improved version. The earlier version is below.

Bookish was first painted four years ago. I had liked it enough to frame and show it… briefly!  I pulled it out recently for a show because I was running low on both inventory and the time to create more.

I still liked it but I could see lots of room for improvement. The basic composition was okay, that and the figure in the distance. As a gesture, he worked. 

I remembered something Dawn Whitelaw said in her workshop, when “fixing” a painting, start with one thing that you know how to fix. Correcting that can be a key to the other things that might need help in a painting. I knew that in Bookish the value of the sky was too dark.

It was an easy fix, and it showed me where the other values were that needed to be changed: windows, corner of the building in the left foreground and the boring, but attention-grabbing, building in the back. After lightening the sky, these values were all easy fixes.

Here’s the original before it got its high key work-up.

[For the meanings of gesture, high key and value visit Artful Definitions.]


  1. Shirley!
    I love this piece! Nice, very nice!
    I love both versions for many different reasons.
    Thanks for posting. Your work is very, very good.
    Take care and keep on painting.

  2. Hi Shirley,
    I thought your reasoning for the changes you made was very well explained. (You always do a great job of this.) I agree with Michael that both are excellent, but I think the darkening of the building in the background draws more attention to the stack of books. Isn't it funny how by walking away from a painting for a period of time, it's easier to see alternatives to what has already been done. Thank you for all your efforts in blogging. I learn so much from you.


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Pieces by (clockwise from left to right) : Susan Harlan, Janet Garner, Shirley Fachilla, Mike Martino and Topper Williams. So many ...