Three Tips for Critiquing Your Own Paintings

Arleta Pech, a master of watercolor and egg tempera, on maintaining focus
“When doing a critique, one of my first questions is, ‘Where do you want me to look?’ Ask yourself this question when planning a painting. Not everything should command the same amount of attention. You may need to tone down other areas of your painting that are competing with the center of interest.”

Popular watercolor instructor, Tony van Hasselt on creating depth and form
“Do you have a variety of edges in your work and are you using them to best advantage? I tell my students to paint the center of interest while looking at it, and to paint everything else while your eye remains focused on that point. This practice creates sharp, in-focus hard edges in the focal point, and elsewhere, softer, out-of-focus edges. Hard edges tend to come forward and soft edges recede, so this method is a good way to create the feeling that air exists between each object.”

Creative watermedia workshop instructor, Marilyn Hughey Phillis on challenging yourself
“An innovative exercise for representational painters would be to exaggerate shapes, move things around and dare to use non-local, even outrageous color. Ask yourself: What do you want the work to communicate to the viewer? How can you convey the taste, smell or feel of your subject by playing with color and shape? Don’t simply act as a human camera. It’s through constant experimentation that you’ll learn to make those important decisions about your subject matter.

For more tips on critiquing your own work, get a pdf of the entire article, “Be Your Own Best Critic,” from which this web article is excerpted for just $1.99.

Or pick up the February 2011 copy of Watercolor Artist.

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