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

Sunday, February 09, 2014

When is a Painting Finished? Try these Tips

'Mountain Music'              5x7         pastel         ©Karen Margulis
click here to purchase $50
It is one of the hardest things to do.  Finishing a painting. The big question always is "Am I finished?"  If I find myself asking if I am finished that is my cue to STOP.  I might not be finished but I am probably close and usually closer than I think.  Stopping prevents me from overworking the painting and adding unnecessary information.

When I stop I can now step back and evaluate my progress.  One of the things that often happens when we are engrossed in a painting  is that we don't stop and step back often enough.  Staying too close to the painting doesn't allow us to see the whole picture....are there problems with the composition? Do the values read correctly? Is the drawing accurate?  Things that are hard to see up close become clear when we step back.

If you forget to step back try setting a timer for 15 minute intervals. When the timer goes off....step back!

When I am standing back from the painting..... I ask myself if another mark would add something to the painting.  If the answer is no then I have said all I need to and the painting is finished.

Sometimes the answer isn't clear.....something is missing in the painting. In this case I allow myself THREE marks. After I add these marks I step back and repeat the process.

 In today's painting I felt like something was missing when I stopped (see painting on the left)  So I allowed myself to go back to the painting to add three more marks.

They can't be random marks. They have to have a purpose!  

I decided I needed a pop of color in the meadow. I consulted the Analogous color wheel and discovered the discord was yellow orange. I made three marks of yellow-orange which added just enough spice.  Finished!

watercolor wash underpainting on Multimedia art board with additional clear gesso for texture


Sandi Graham Pastels said...

In this painting ,you mention that you consulted the analgous color wheel for the discord .
Then added a few yellow orange marks.
What did you choose as the analgous colors on your color scheme . The painting did not seem analgous ,only the field. I bought the analgous color wheel and I'm just trying to understand the thinking and use. Hope you can elaborate.Thanks .

Sue Corcoran said...

Hi Karen
I love it! Here in the UK I can't find an analogous colour chart - I have a normal one.
A query Karen - I have done a watercolour painting and want to put a little pastel on top for texture. If I paint clear gesso over the whole picture, is the watercolour likely to move? I haven't concentrated on using 'staining' colours or anything like that. Thanks, Sue.

Karen said...

Hi Sue,
Try to look for the analogous color wheel on Ebay. I know I saw them there just not sure if they ship to UK.
As far as the watercolor....I am going to experiment with that and post a report. I usually put the watercolor on top of the gesso. If anyone out there has an answer please chime in!

Karen said...

Great question! The painting is not strictly analogous. But I did use the analogous color wheel to choose my complement and discord colors. I decided that the main colors in the painting are greens to blue greens so I put this at the top of the wheel. That tells me my complement is red purple and the discords are purple and yellow orange. So basically the wheel doesnt make a strict analogous gives you suggestions for colors that will be harmonious with your dominant color.
Hope that makes sense!

robertsloan2art said...

This is AWESOME! Thank you for explaining this and showing the before and after. I'm tempted to do this and experiment with it on my next painting. It rocks! Including choosing a Spice color. That could work even in a portrait!