Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Art/Painting Critiques

Self Critique Tips

If you've painted for any length of time you know there are a number of things you can do to "self critique" a painting.  
  • Turn the painting & the reference photograph upside down.  
    • I've heard stories of new painters being told to look at the painting upside down and the instructor turning around & seeing the poor student almost standing on their head trying to look at the painting "upside down."  It'll save new students a headache if they just turn the canvas upside down.  
    • Why do this?  It causes you to have to throw out preconceived notions of what you think something looks like and start looking at shapes.  It helps me correct my proportions & lines when they are off.  
  • Look at your painting in a mirror
    •  The mirror image allows you to look at it from a different perspective
  • Take a photograph and study the photograph.  
    • Its amazing to me how often something jumps out at me I hadn't noticed before when I photograph the painting.  
  • Put the canvas somewhere you can casually study it.  
    • Near where you watch TV is good place.  Sometimes it just takes a while before you realize why the painting isn't working for you.  It happens when you least expect it.  I think of it as an aha moment.  

Catching a Wave - Before & After

Before Changes

Finished Painting

Group Critique

Fresh eyes is what this painting needed.  I knew while the little girl had thin legs in the reference photograph, but it just didn't translate well to canvas.  Knowing it needed at least that improvement I decided I would use this painting for a group critique to get additional suggestions before I started painting on it again. Once again, I implemented the suggestions made after my painting was critiqued and think it is greatly improved.  


  • The top waves were too big for the composition and one person said she initially thought they were clouds - boy I didn't see that being so focused on trying to paint in the waves
  • The legs could be a little wider
  • The forward shoulder and arm angle needed to be changed
  • Allow the bottoms of her shorts show to bring some green to another part of the painting
Painting out the waves, you can see the overall appearance is lighter because of the colors I used.   As I was implementing the suggestions, I brightened the splashes in the water around her feet too. 

No comments:

Post a Comment