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Checklist for successful paintings : Be your own critic

Checklist for successful paintings : Be your own critic on ARTiful, painting demos by Sandrine Pelissier
Thoughts / Watercolor painting basics

Checklist for successful paintings : Be your own critic

Irwin Greenberg : “Be your own toughest critic.”

Assessing your work while you are painting it is a crucial step towards successful paintings. 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.

You might also be interested in : How to fix watercolor mistakes

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.

A few questions you can ask yourself when looking at your own work.

  • 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 ?

If you are painting with watercolors.

  • Do I have a variety of edges ( soft edges and hard edges)
  • 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.

Comments (5)

  1. Susanne

    So much concise information in one area! Thank you, Sandrine!

    1. Thanks Suzanne 🙂

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