Problem Solving As You Paint

“Transparent” | © Beth Cole | Oil on Linen | 9 x 12 |

“Transparent” | © Beth Cole | Oil on Linen | 9 x 12 |

Let’s imagine you are working on a new painting you are very excited about. You’ve done everything you can to prepare – i.e. editing your photo reference, doing a value thumbnail, maybe even a color study to choose your color palette. You have blocked everything in. You stand back to take a look, and……blah….yuck…..nothing. It is just not working! It is not what you imagined. You don’t even like it. Now what?

I have been in this place so many times! Ugh. Have you? What are your problem solving suggestions?

Here are some of mine.

  1. Take a photo of your reference and your painting and turn it to black and white. This way you can compare values to see what is not working in your piece.

  2. Have you ever tried a digital painting tool like Procreate? I love this tool for helping me problem solve. I take a photo of my painting, and import it into Procreate and make several layers of options to see what I might do to “fix” the problem areas. It works wonders. Sometimes, I even move forward using the digital painting as a guide.

  3. Set the painting aside for a few days, maybe even a week. Sometimes we get too close to a painting and lose our objectivity. Time can help.

  4. Take the painting to a mirror and take a look. This will help you see things your eyes are missing.

  5. Wipe it off! Always an option and one I have used many times.

If you enjoyed this article, here is another one along these lines, “Critiquing Your Art Work.”

Look forward to your comments, happy painting!

Soli Deo Gloria