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Friday, March 28, 2014

Improve your Paintings with this $1 Investment

'Silent Awe'               9x12              pastel           ©Karen Margulis
available for purchase $145
 Did you ever ask yourself why?  Why did you chose the subject to paint?  Why were you drawn to it? Did you have a reason for wanting to paint it?  Picking a subject because it seems easy isn't a good enough reason. Picking it because it is on top of the pile of reference photos isn't a good enough reason.

Having a passion for your subject leads to more passionate paintings.(tweet this) 

Being drawn to a subject isn't enough.  We need to know WHY we are excited about it before we can figure out how to express it in the painting.

My WHY BOARD with the 'why' for the sunset painting
We can think about why but it is better to verbalize it and even better to write it down!  So I came up with The WHY BOARD.  It is a simple 8x10 white board. I got it at the Dollar Tree for $1.  It is cheap but it does the job. It is very light weight, comes with a pen and an eraser and a magnet on the back. The pen even works!  A bargain price but priceless for the help it will give.

How to use the Why Board:

  • When planning your painting it always helps to start by asking yourself why you are drawn to your subject. Now instead of thinking it (and possibly forgetting) you jot it down on the board. I even wrote down a potential title for the painting. 
  • Prop up your Why Board near your easel. As you paint you should be stepping back. When you step back glance at your board. Are you still on track with your 'Why'?  Do the choices you are making fit your initial concept ? 
  • If you have gone off track you can at least decide if you like the new direction. If not you can evaluate and decide how to get the painting to better express your concept....your WHY.

Now simply erase the board when you are done and it is ready for the next painting!  I love the Dollar store!


Susan Jenkins said...

Great idea!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful Idea...and perfect timing for this advise for me, as I am struggling with the "what to paint" question. Now I know how to choose my subject and why ! Thanks for all your helpful advise Karen.

Lorraine said...

Thanks for this great idea Karen! (Gotta love the bargain price, too!) :-)

Gloria said...

Thank you, Karen. I have a lot of trouble with analyzing why i paint something. I ofteb paint because "Oh, that's pretty. Sometimes I think of a funny title about something I see and decide to paint it that way, but the painting may be a funny combination of things, but may not be funny itself, because i paint it in a very realistic non-funny way when I should have painted it in a contemporary way to make it work. A lot of things to consider when planning(which I hardly ever do) a painting!


It is so important to KNOW WHY. I remember having the most awful whatever paintings when I first started painting many years ago. Actually I knew WHY I painted what I had chosen, but the reasons were terrible. You could write a post including many good reasons for choosing the scene, etc.