1. Turn it upside down and look at it (or work on it) inverted. I spend about one-fourth of my painting time working on my fantasy paintings inverted, either to see them objectively or to get a better angle on the strokes and perspective lines.
2. Step back from it, squinting and tilting your head.
3. Use a reducing glass—a double concave lens that will make your full composition fit handily into the palm of your hand.
4. Shoot a digital photo of the painting and look at it in the LCD, flip it 180 degrees or process it in Photoshop to see how it works in two values.
5. Set up an adjustable mirror on the wall behind and above your shoulder (see above). Mine is mounted on a wall bracket with an adjustable ball in socket joint. Making the painting both smaller and reversed will help you spot problems right away.
6. Ask a trusted friend, family member, or visitor to take a look at it. They don’t have to be an art expert. What interests me most about someone’s reaction to my picture is what strikes them first, what they notice most. It’s not always what I was intending.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
When I work on a painting I literally get too close to it, and I grow accustomed to its faults. There are at least six ways to get a fresh eye on a work in progress.