Whether your painting indoors or out. here's three simple tips that can help improve your painting session. Each one requires the painter to take a few extra minutes to implement but they will definitely be worth the effort and will enhance the painting process.
1. Create thumbnail sketches- I like to tell my students these are like road maps. And it’s always good to know where you're going before you start .It's the best way to get familiar with your subject and visualize where you're headed. By creating a couple of small little sketches, no more than a few inches 2" x 3" for example. And, spend anywhere between 15-30 minutes at the most. you'll end up with one idea that you are drawn too or perhaps ideas for different paintings. These are not detailed drawings. These sketches are just to help you place your subject in the composition figure out the boundaries, finding the light and dark areas. Thumbnail sketches can also help with determining your focal point or start to develop a narrative within the painting.
2. Soften your focus. Some art instructors say “squint” but for me, when I hear “squint” I immediately tighten the muscles around my eyes and that’s what I focus on... the wrinkles I’m creating. Instead I think “ soften focus”. this is when I don’t try to look at anything in particular, I do close my eyes slightly and peer through my eyelashes. My goal is to just see the overall shapes and find what is light and what is dark. This helps for the overall composition and design. This takes practice and a conscience awareness of "making things look fuzzy" intentionally. But once you grasp this technique you'll soon see the value in practicing a softer focus to help see the overall picture better especially in the beginning stages. Save the sharper focus for the end near the final stage of adding in the details.
3. Stand back. walk away for a minute and refresh your vision. Often times my students, me included, will be too close to our painting and things won’t look right or perhaps we are so laser focused on painting an exact detail we are missing the whole picture. Maybe that detail doesn’t really matter? Maybe you captured the essence of the detail already and you don’t even realize it. Or what if you have the perfect oval shape for the rim of the cup but when you step back you can see that the whole thing is leaning over like the Tower of Pisa. That’s why it’s good to look away, refresh your view and step back. Take in the whole painting. For some reason or another I've had students who seem to dismiss this practice of stepping back and looking at their painting from a distance. So instead I'll pick up their painting off the easel and move about 10 feet away from them. And without fail, they look, they study it and then... a big smile appears and a nod of approval... and they say " Wow! I like it so much better when I see my painting from a distance!" ... and I just smile too.
Hope these three tips are helpful the next time you start a new painting. As simple as they are, these are very useful tools that every painter can use, and the more you practice and use these methods you'll instinctively incorporate them into your painting workflow. Remember, don’t stop creating. Keep going. This is important for your wellbeing ....you were created to create!
Upcoming Shoreline Arts Trail 2019- Open Studio -
Saturday and Sunday November 16 -17, 2019
10am- 4pm -
I will be at : 200 Montowese Street, Branford, CT
The Academy School house on the Green,
for more information go to: www.shorelineartstrail.com
Painting tips, growing art skill, painting is a teachable skill, improve painting habit, keep creating, creating art brings joy
Branford, CT 06405
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