Visit my Patreon Page for more painting instruction and Paint Along Videos!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Why We Need to Stop Painting

'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
After my class left I looked at the painting from afar and immediately saw that I had everything in the center. I also had the two larger poppies lined up with the two big trees. They were also the same height.  It seemed too regular and even. There wasn't anything to balance this big heavy shape of trees and flowers. Here is what I did:

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!


Sergio DS said...

Es maravilloso, haber añadido esa última amapola es todo un acierto, no sólo equilibra el conjunto sino que lo llena de vitalidad.
Mis felicitaciones.

Carole Scureman said...

Beautiful painting. All of your blogs have been so helpful to me. Thanks

Rachel said...

I would have never noticed if you didn't mention it. Beautiful painting regardless

Tim Moore said...

i have a natural timer..i have such a bad back i have to get up and move ,stand,walk, etc every 15 -20 minutes or so..this painting reminds me of my red/green color blindness..i have such a terrible time seeing subtle reds and greens together..