Training your critical eye is one of the best tools to improve painting skills. After all who can you depend on to be available anytime, who knows and understands what you’re trying to do……you.
Here are three ways that have helped me to become my best art critic;
Attend open studio sessions, while there, walk around the room and really look at what others are doing. Find several people who are more experienced, see how they have handled areas that you are struggling with. Take pictures of their work (if they give you permission), and study it later. What things are they doing that could elevate your work, more varied edges, more subtle colors, using warm passages against cool etc.
Before you try the next suggestion you might say “what’s the point, just go on to something else”. I’ve found to take my work to the next level I need to dig deeper, take an unbiased look at my paintings, remove myself from it’s creation and ask these questions;
If I saw another version of this painting in a gallery and really liked it, how would it be different from my version? I did this with my painting below.
The big things;
The shape of her skirt would be more interesting, as it is, one half is a mirror image of the other. It could also have more form, there must be a top plane, front planes and side planes, but where are they? More variety in color, even though it’s not totally a flat color, the surface suffers from sameness. More movement, the diagonal at the bottom of the skirt has the potential for a more interesting edge.
The background could be cooler. The main character should call the shots on the painting temperature. She is built with very cool tones, I don’t believe her world would have that much orange in it.
The small things;
The girl’s posture is a little stiff, so is her expression. Before I rework her head I better make sure it’s in the right place, (which it wasn’t).
Can I make this more than a girl in a big skirt?
Going through several days of revisions, I think it’s finally a better version of it’s former self! I definitely learned some things on this one!