How to stop before taking a painting too far (suggestions excerpted
from an article by Cathy Johnson in Artists Magazine, September
a Work on the spot -- bugs and changing light will stop you.
b Step back and assess what you've done
c Block out part of the composition and look at the parts.
d Compare it to a master's painting (if they could leave things
unfinished, you can too.)
e Look at it through a mirror.
f Restate your original goal.
g Leave it as is. (It's not finished until it's sold.)
h Ask someone else to critique it.
i Critique it as if you were someone else.
2. Word for the week:
CRITIC: n. [French and Latin; French critique, from Latin, criticus,
from Greek, kritikos, able to discuss, from krinein to judge,
discern.] 1. One who expresses a reasoned opinion on any matter,
involving a judgment of its value, truth or righteousness or an
appreciation of its beauty or technique. 2. One given to harsh
or capricious judgment. 3. One skilled in judging the merits of
literary or artistic works. from Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary
It's interesting to me that there is both a positive and negative
definition of the word, while the origin of the word expresses
the more neutral meaning. Do some thinking about this. Why do
you suppose this is so?
3. Practice: "Learning bears fruit when it is applied."
Madlyn-Ann Woolwich, in The Artists Magazine September 92 suggests
that you try putting complements next to each other in
your painting but using the same value (to maintain form). This
should "create energy without disintegrating form".
This would be an interesting color exercise. In other words,
establish your basic composition and forms, using values to define
edges. Use the basic correct color in the form, but also come
in with bits of the complementary color in the same value. (Obviously,
this will be difficult to do if your form is a dark purple because
yellow is light. But if your form (such as a banana) is yellow,
bring in some purple of the same value -- maybe using drybrush
technique. If red (an apple) bring in some bluey-green of the
same value. ETC. I haven't tried this as an exercise myself, I
have to admit, although I have tried using warm-cool shades of
close colors in the same value to create an atmospheric bounce
in skies (for instance.) Will be interested to see this if you
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