|'Stop for the Poppies!' 11x14 pastel ©Karen Margulis|
STOP PAINTING! Put the pastel down and back away from the easel! I need to remind myself to do this more often. We can get so caught up in a painting that we sometimes forget just how important it is to take a break, back up and see what is happening in the painting. Things look different when we aren't on top of the painting. We see potential problems before they grow out of control. We might even be closer to being finished than we thought.
Today's painting is a perfect example of what can happen when we don't stop and step back. The picture below is the demo I did for my class last week. I was demonstrating the creation of depth in a painting. When I demo I don't step back. I am usually too busy painting and explaining what I am doing. In this case I didn't notice some bad compositional decisions that I might have seen if I had moved away from the painting. Can you spot them?
|Before making changes|
I decided to add another medium size poppy in the top right to break up the boring tree shape and pull the eye out of the center. I then added some more purple flowers on the left to balance the bigger flowers in the center. I like it better but it took moving away from the painting to see these issues.
It really does make a difference when you Stop Painting and Step back! If you tend to get so engrossed in your painting that you forget to take frequent breaks to step away....make it a point to get into the habit.
- Set a timer for 20 minutes. Stop painting when the timer goes off. Step back and evaluate the painting. Decide what your next step will be. Repeat every 20 minutes. When you don't know what else to do Stop again. Don't just keep fiddling...every mark needs a purpose at this stage and if you don't know what that purpose is...take a break and come back to the painting with fresh eyes!
- If you sit to paint it is still important to take a break and step back from the painting. I stand usually but when I do sit I use my rolling office chair and wheel back to have a better look!