In a painting, when you overstate detail you will detract from the impact the work imparts on the viewer. The answer is to simplify matters by leaving out much detail and lessening the effect of what remains in what we call a ‘lost and found’ method. This technique is seen quite clearly in the section of a painting of the wall at the home of Witch Coarsecackle, as illustrated below:
The stonework is only revealed in places, and by washing a transparent glaze over it the otherwise stark edges of the stones have been softened. Also note how the window has been rendered, losing strong detail lower down to stop the whole becoming rather boring. I used the negative painting technique here, but masking fluid might well have been an easier technique. Ignore the rather strange-looking creatures in the top right-hand corner as they add more to the narrative than to the aesthetic appreciation of the lost and found method.
You will find the ‘lost and found’ method featured in all my art books, but for further information on Witch Coarsecackle and her amazing abode you can check out The Grog Invasion on my website. It is the first book of the Chronicles of the Llandoddies, the legendary water-folk of Llandrindod Wells, and a great tonic for those who need a good laugh and escape from the realities of modern life, aimed at kids from 9 to 99. Coarsecackle is herself a portrait artist of some renown and a film on her methods is under preparation.