1. Sleep on it
Sometimes we need a little break from our own work in order to see it with “fresh eyes”. Turn your painting towards a wall or put it away somewhere you won’t be tempted to sneak a peek. After one or two days, you will be able to look at your own work with a fresh perspective.
2. Far & Away
Literally. Look at your painting from far away. If you are painting on a table or on the floor (like me), prop your painting against the wall and look at it the way someone else would look at it.
3. Play “The 360 Game”
The 360 Game is a term I use to describe the act of turning a painting in 4 different directions (for a full 360 degree turn) in order to decide which orientation our painting looks best.
Often, we might think that our painting is not finished when we look at it from a certain orientation, but once we turn it (upside down for example) everything falls into place and suddenly we know it's finished.
4. Consider Contrast
Our brains are naturally attuned to notice contrast. In many cases, we tend to consider a painting with high areas of contrast more interesting than a painting without.
Stand back from your painting and squint your eyes. You will instantly be able to notice areas of contrast in your painting.
5. Mirror Mirror
Looking at your painting in a mirror is a trick artists use to find trouble spots in their painting. Try it. It’s really neat and incredibly insightful.
6. Eye Travel
Where does the eye travel within your painting? Do your eyes stay “within” the painting or do they get pushed away to the outside of the canvas?
7. Ask Someone
Sometimes, we can loose track of whether our work is terrible or genius because it feels like we’ve been working in a vacuum.
In those instances, I invite the one person that I trust to give me her unbiased, critical opinion: my mom. Because of her extensive knowledge and art background, I can trust she knows what she’s talking about.
An art instructor, a partner, a friend or even a child might be other people to consider.
A word of caution: Ask no more than one or two people for their opinion. You will find that asking too many people only adds to the confusion.
8. Home Sweet Home
Ask yourself how would you feel if it were hanging in someone’s home. Answering this question might offer some insight into wether or not the work is finished.
9. Goal Setting
If you had an idea you wanted to get across or a message or mood you wanted to convey, ask yourself if you achieved your goal(s).
10. You Decide
In the end, the only person that can make the decision is you. Practice “owning” your decision with gratitude and grace.
This blog was created to share my belief that the art-making process is a catalyst for transformation and personal empowerment. I am living proof.