Monday, October 05, 2015

Touching Up a Demo...The Importance of Fresh Eyes

'Blue Ridge Memories'               16 x 20                   pastel                 ©Karen Margulis
painting available $250
  I think I am going to make it my mission. I will find a way to make sure I evaluate every painting with fresh eyes. I will also make it my mission to make sure all of the artists who study with me do the same. I have some ideas and I will share them in a future post.

Stepping back  and getting a fresh perspective is one of the most important things we can do to have better paintings. Most of us don't step back enough. 

It happens easily. We are concentrating on the painting and everything else goes on the back burner. Or maybe we are sitting or maybe our space is too small. It happens to me when I am painting a demo. I often don't have enough room to step back and I am so busy talking that I forget!

just after the demo...before the finishing marks
Stepping back allows us to see the painting in a new way. We are no longer on top of it and the whole design of the painting becomes clear. We can more readily see things we should remove, soften, add. Stepping back gives our eyes a break. Fresh eyes see better.

The demo painting in today's post needed fresh eyes. Caught up in the narration of the painting I neglected to step back to evaluate the painting. That is fine for a demo since I was able to use it for my lesson. But it needed a bit more work to be called finished.

Once I returned home from the workshop I was able to take the time to figure out what was needed. Time away made it clear. Fresh eyes told me what to do:

  • Break up the steep diagonal line of yellow. I wanted the yellow flower mass to lead us into the painting but it was too steep and too direct.
  • Fix the big dark blob of trees. Add some lighter, warmer greens to give the tree shapes form. I also used the meadow color to carve into the trees and make them more interesting.
  • Simplify the flower masses and add a few thoughtfully placed detailed yellow flowers. Reminding myself to keep it simple!

the reference photo
 How well do you do at stepping back form a painting? Do you have any tips to share?

This 16x20 demo painting was done in the plein air workshop I just did with Marsha Savage in Blue Ridge Georgia. Despite the rain we had an amazing time. I am putting together a review which I will be posting so stay tuned!

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