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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Why Your Wipes Should be 10 Feet Behind You

'To Infinity and Beyond'               18x24                 pastel           ©Karen Margulis
It certainly would be more convenient. I have a shelf next to my easel. I keep things I might need on the shelf so they are in easy reach. While I am in the painting zone I don't want to stop and hunt for a needed supply. I keep a brush, ruler, charcoal, clips, fixative, banker's clip, magic rub eraser on the shelf. These are all things I might use in the heat of a painting frenzy.

I don't keep my baby wipes on the shelf. I keep these on a table about 10 feet away. I am a better painter because my wipes are not within reaching distance!

Yes I considered moving them to the shelf. But then I would not be forced to take breaks from my painting. The mini break that I take to walk over to grab a wipe is the perfect amount of time. It prevents me from fiddling. If I just had to reach for the wipes on the shelf I wouldn't get that break. Coming back to the painting with fresh eyes allows me to assess my progress. It prevents the mindless mark-making that we often fall into when painting.

Especially towards the end of a painting I remind myself that every mark must have a purpose. Stepping back allows me to evaluate the painting's progress.

Why use baby wipes? I tend to use a lot of wipes. I like the pop up hand and face wipes sold in my local grocery store. I don't wear gloves so my fingers need cleaning from time to time. I like clean fingers so that if I do touch the painting the color stays clean. (dirty gloves can also make a painting muddy if  the painting is touched) Clean fingers = clean paintings.

By the way this little trick works for anything you use frequently while painting....water, cup of coffee, glass of wine! Keep them 10 feet away! Take a mini break from your painting!

Painting notes: 18x24 Uart 500. I did a dry wash with warm and cool colors.


Sandi G said...

I like your thinking, move back , clean your hands, assess your painting and get some wine !LOL

robertsloan2art said...

Great advice for anyone with the mobility to do it.

Like a lot of things, it wouldn't work for me. Net result I either wouldn't finish the painting or I'd wind up getting it all over myself and everything and not washing up till done. Then have to clean all my pastels.

It works better for me to keep everything right next to me but I pace myself in different ways. One of theh things I like about the Colourist painting method is that I have three defined stops to back up, look at what I'm doing, take a Progress photo and look at it as a thumbnail - which is like putting it up at the end of the hall to get a look at it. The more times I take progress photos and then have to resize them to post, post it and talk about what I did, the less likely I'll overwork the painting.

Stage 3 is where most of the work comes in and I don't always pause before doing final details. I'll think I finished stage 3, stop, look at it and go "no, it's done."

So if you can't literally keep backing up, try some way that works. A reducing lens can work if you're lacking mobility too, looking at it as if it was farther away. Or a mirror across the room. The main thing is to look at it without it being right under your nose and see what the broader strokes do by themselves before fussing too much.