Here is a quote I like by Irwin Greenberg : “Be your own toughest critic.”
While it is not easy to take a distance from our own work, here is a list of elements you might want to check in the earlier stages of planning a painting and also in the last stages.
Of course depending on the effect and the look you would like to achieve, rules can be broken, this list is just a rough guideline of elements you might want to consider when assessing your painting.
- Is there unity in the painting or is there an element that is sticking out too much.
- Does the painting have enough contrast?
- Does the painting have a variety of textures?
- Do the colors work together
- Are the positive and negative shapes interesting?
- Is there a focal point? Does it have more contrast , more details or brighter colors than the rest of the painting, does the location follows the rule of thirds.( see more info on the rule of third here )
- Emotion, does the painting trigger an emotional response from you, do you have a connection to your subject.
- Is there a feeling or a specific mood conveyed by the painting?
- Is there something I do better or in a different way, is there something original ?
Criteria specific to watercolor:
- Does the painting have a variety of washes, wet in wet, dry on wet, dry brush
- Are my dark areas still bright and not muddy
- Do I have some transparent and opaque passages
What are you looking at when assessing your own work? Please add your ideas in the comment area.