Monday, February 8, 2010

How do you know when a painting is done?

Is it done yet?    This is one of the most frequently asked questions I get from students and even professional artist friends of mine.  Here are some ideas for answering that question:

Critique from other artists - Ask another artist or two (who have not seen previously seen the painting) to critique it for you.  Better yet start a critique group that meets regularly and then you are motivated to paint more because there is a Critique coming up.   Kathy, Penny and I started River City 8 in 1992 and the group is still going strong.  I will show them this painting at our meeting today.

Ferment - Patrick Dullanty used to let his paintings "ferment", he would stash them away in a closet and then pull them out 3 months later and look at them with a fresh eye.

Look at it in an alternate way - Look at them in a mirror or take a photo and look at the photo.  When I look at the photo above that I took 10 minutes ago I can see that I need to put another layer of blue on the right shutter so it better matches the left one since they are suppose to be on the same building.  I am also bothered by the fact that the teacher's red sash is so in your face, perhaps I need some red somewhere else in the painting, but where?

1 comment:

Chris said...

Or you can ask a friend if they think it's done...

The other day a friend (who is not an artist/painter) was in my studio. She noticed a piece and said "oh, did you just finish that one?"

I kind of laughed and said no, since there are obvious missing highlights and the colors need to be punched up (oil painting).

She said "I can't tell, it looks completely finished."

Hmmm... I wonder how much I could get away with by not finishing paintings. I have many paintings on the go, so I'm often presented with the "is it done yet" question. Perhaps I should just get my kids to tell me what they think.