after looking at this one in the cold light of day i hated it. i figured it had to be a value problem so i did that little value study thats sitting on top of the painting. i looked thru a red piece of plastic and painted all the shapes the value it was on the 12x16 to find the problem.
then i did a new value study. these things are only 4"x6" or so. they only take a few minutes each. look how much better it looks when the roof is darker than the sky, when the foliage near the bright reflection on the water is darker and when the building is a bit darker. in the original the big roof ( with the chimneys) was too light and too warm.
i liked everything but the water still wasnt shining like i wanted it to. so i dropped the value of the sky, chimney shadows, and the foliage near the sparkle a little bit more. that did the trick. i saw in the value study that the roof, the water on the left side, and the grass in sun should be the same value. the chimney shadows and the foliage near the sparkle should be the same and the building should be darker than the roof and the grass.
now came the hard part. convincing myself to redo the whole painting. not one shape was right and even if some were, when i changed one it would change how all the rest related to each other.
so i took a deep breath, sighed and started scraping a 'finished' painting, and re-did the whole thing. the way i kept the edges from being to harsh (usually what happens when you have to repaint a near dry painting) was to paint past the edge both ways, and then back again, worked like a charm. every day i learn something new behind a wet brush. one sure way to get better is dont be afraid to do whatever it takes to make a better painting (there are far too many mediocre/bad ones out there already arent there?a good deal of em are mine) the other thing is-- put in lots of time in front of the easel. there arent any short cuts.
so the next time one of your paintings arent working if you think its a value problem do a couple of little value studies and see if thats it. then you'll know how to fix it.