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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Finish a Painting with Care with this Quick Idea

'Old Friends'                18x24            pastel               ©Karen Margulis
painting available $500
 I am really starting to like this idea. I shared it in a recent post and I am using it more frequently. I plan to use it for every painting. It is a simple idea really. But it solves the common problem of overworking a painting and knowing just when to stop.

I like to stop painting before I think I am done. I paint until I feel like I am almost done. When I am not sure what else I need to do that is the perfect time to stop. Many times if we keep going at this point we are making marks that might not add anything to the painting.


Then what? I usually walk away or do something else and come back to the painting with a fresh eye. Then I can decide what if anything needs to be done to finish the painting. I then WRITE these things down. I use a small dry erase board but post it notes or a sketchbook all work. If I don't write them down I will not only forget what I wanted to do I will often be sidetracked and do more than I NEED to do.....overworking the painting.

Here is an example:

The painting above is almost finished. I liked the colors and the freshness of the marks. I wanted to keep that feeling but on closer observation I saw some issues to address. I wrote them down on my dry erase board below.

On my dry erase board you can see I had written down the concept I had for the painting. This helps me decide if I was successful. I decided that I was and I still liked my working title of 'Old Friends'. Here are the things I decided to address:

  • I wanted more texture in the grass
  • I needed a few spices in the grass and spices in the trees. I wanted to make sure the eye moved around the painting.
  • I needed to break up the solid area in the bottom left section of the trees.
  • I want to put a nice royal blue accent in the trees just because!
When I had a chance to return to the painting I was able to remember what I wanted to do which helped me to do only these things and STOP!  Yes, I really like this idea!


Sheila said...

Sounds like a good idea to me. I will have to give it a try :)

Sandi Graham Pastels said...

I remember how you use a sticky note too. I really like the idea of revisiting the concept of the painting, I too would forget what other touches or corrections I might want to make later. Walking away then returning with the notes left previously is a great suggestion. I like the use of a dry erase board. Thanks I am picking a small erase board up today for my studio.

robertsloan2art said...

That is a great solution! I sometimes stop at the point it gets frustrating, then think about it, go back when I realize there's something that could help. Usually a few final details.

Then it snaps to Done very fast. That last stage never has as much work as I think there is. But there's often an ugly stage right before that finish where I feel like it's hopeless!

I miss my dry erase board, used to use it for notes and scribbled sketches and thumbnails and stuff.