6 Ways to keep your interest alive while painting slowly….

    Large paintings can take longer to complete, so before embarking on a complicated work, do quick studies in charcoal, pencil or thumbnail oil sketches.
    Often we are so excited to start a new painting, that we don’t have patience to plan ahead. But doing so saves time as you won’t have to rework areas and fix major mistake.
    Before committing to a final composition, explore variations on your design by doing tonal and color studies in different materials.
    Be patient and work through your ideas until you have some concept of how your painting will develop. This allows your ideas to evolve and you don’t just stick to your original thought.

Examples of very precise preparatory drawings can be found in the work of the British painter Euan Uglow:

(3) Study for Nuria + Nuria 1998 / 2000 Oil on Canvas laid on panel 14.25 x 21.25
    If you have trouble staying focused on a long painting , you can try a different approach by building up the center of interest before continuing outward from that point. The painter Lucian Freud usually worked in this way:

Lucian Freud

    Working back and forth on several paintings is an effective way to keep your interest from fading and taking a break allows you to see your work with fresh eyes. Of course, this is also necessary to allow the painting to dry between sessions.

Toulouse-Lautrec painting Au Moulin Rouge, La Danse (1895)

    I must admit that I am totally addicted to viewing my paintings in a mirror. While you are working, your unconscious mind triggers a mechanism in the brain that starts correcting errors, this makes it more difficult to see them objectively. If you place a mirror opposite your work. you will see the image reversed and therefore it will be easier to spot your mistakes.
    When I leave my studio I place a mirror facing the door, so when I return the next day, I am “surprised” by the reversed image of my work . This allows me to view it with fresh eyes.

a mirror facing the door

    Painters often get stuck on a painting and obsess about their mistakes. If you view your work for too long you will lose the ability to judge it objectively. Keep a difficult painting facing the wall or in another room, only bringing it back when you intend to work on it again.

    To revive a painting after it has dried, sand it down using fine sandpaper, but make sure you remove sanding residue before applying additional coats of paint. Using a fine brush re-draw the image, without staying within your original lines.
    In addition to correcting mistakes this approach can re-invigorate the painting, opening it up for further work.

Question: Do you have additional tips for keeping focused ?

Please write your comments below.

3 thoughts on “6 Ways to keep your interest alive while painting slowly….

  1. Great tips!! I would also say- ask a friend who is an artist to comment on your work.

  2. Your web site and Blog are terrific Barbara, I don’t know why or how I didn’t find them earlier.
    I agree with your experience of moving on, I’ve been thrashing around for a year trying to understand what I want to do and what my paintings are doing – which seem to be separate.
    But do please keep writing, it is helping me and I love your nudes. They are beautiful

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