Yesterday I spent part of my day painting large shapes in a painting I thought I was improving. I chose a color that I thought was appropriate and worked. I went to lunch and when I came back and looked at the painting I couldn’t believe that the color I had chosen was so hideous. It was the color of dog poop.

How is it possible that with so much experience I can still make complete and utter mistakes? It amazes me.

I spent the good part of half an hour sitting in a chair looking at the painting wondering why and how I could go so hopelessly wrong…and then I understood. I had painted the biggest shapes, the most noticeable shapes in the painting, a dark color. The background is a light color so the dark shapes show up very strongly.

All the subtlety in the light background area of the painting could not be noticed because the contrast of the large dark shapes were so different that they were unrelated and overpowered all the delicate subtleties that were in the background.