Monday, June 29

When Your Art Is Rejected from a Juried Art Show- How to Live with It

Today’s Image
Zia No. 2
Acrylic on Canvas

Today’s a Monday, which seems like a good day of the week for today’s blog, which is about rejection. I’m not talking about all the kinds of rejection there are in life, such as not getting hired or losing a job or the break-up of a relationship, all of which can be unpleasant experiences. Today’s Image is a painting of mine that was rejected recently from a local contemporary art show.

I’m talking about the rejection that artists regularly endure and that comes about after their artwork has been turned down or not deemed good enough for a show or exhibit at a gallery or similar venue. Artists being artists, this can be a bitter pill to swallow.

Why is this so? Well, the general consensus is that artists are known for being right-brained with traits such as being intuitive, good with images and color, spatial perception, feelings and emotions, and seeing the whole, etc. For some reason, people often say things like, “he/she in one of his/her moods, you know, he’s/ she’s an artist.” Like we should be immune or something.

I don’t like stereotypes, and I think it’s natural to feel down after a rejection occurs no matter what label, including “artist,” you put on people. The key is how down you let yourself feel on a scale from deeply depressed to slightly miffed or somewhere in between.

What most people don’t realize (or even think about) is that the vocation of an artist is probably more prone to rejection than just about any other career with the possible exception of acting. This is because creating art results in artwork, which is visual, and whose only reason for existence is to be viewed. Of course, if you’re an artist who has never, ever shown your art to anyone, and you never plan to, then you have not experienced the kind of rejection we’re talking about.

I once read a biography of the mid-20th century actor, Rosalind Russell, who described acting as, “standing up naked and turning around very slowly.” What she meant is that as an actor, you put yourself “out there” for everyone to see and comment on. I make the case that this goes for artists, too.

There’s vulnerability in what artists do, and it hurts when you/your work is rejected. As the current saying goes, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. That’s a little too glib for me, and –ouch—it still hurts.

At those times, I like to remember Henri Matisse’s quote, “creativity takes courage.”

It most assuredly does. When my own art is rejected, I like to think positive thoughts, such as your art will never be acknowledged (or shown) if you never enter it in a juried exhibit or the more simplistic, nothing-ventured-nothing-gained.

I like to think most jurors of art are experienced and open minded, well intentioned, with nothing but the highest scruples and best interests of all the artists at heart.

But, darn it, they’re only human, so I know there must have been some mistake...


Thursday, June 25

Drawing Naturally or Is That Naturally Drawing?

Today’s Image
A Sphere

Today’s Image is a sphere. Read on to see how it ties into today's OrbisPlanis art blog, which is a follow-up, sort of, to the one a couple of blogs ago on sketching. I got to thinking, the first benefit of sketching for artists in the list was “keeps your drawing skills fresh,” or some such, and how that presumes you already have drawing skills.

Not everyone has drawing skills, of course, and I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure there a lot of artists and wanna-be artists that fall into that category (unfortunately).

Oh, you can get by with mediocre drawing skills, but it’s so fundamental to art and design. With less than adequate skills, you’re short-changing yourself and your art.

What to do?

Sketch and draw. Keep doing it.

And while you’re at it, enroll in a beginner drawing class or enroll in whatever level class matches your skill level. And buy a book about drawing—there are hundreds if you haven’t noticed—and read all the exercises and tips on how to do it.

Then draw and sketch some more and keep doing it.

If you're a long-time reader of the OrbisPlanis, you may recall I discussed drawing in several of the blogs about a year ago, and if you want to go back and read a few of those, just click on the links in this sentence.

Sometimes I forget about the information included in the right hand column of my blog—eyes to the right. I update it when I run across a new “artist factoid” or see a favorite artist quote I want to add. Anyway, I happened to be scrolling down the blog and saw the quote from Paul Cezanne, the notable artist from the late 19th century and the first part of the 20th.

A while back I had added this quote from Cezanne, "See nature in terms of the cone, the cylinder, and the sphere." It’s so fundamental and yet so true. I think he was referring to natural rather than man-made things or to the relatively few things that truly have no shape (hmmm, what would they be?).

Think about the following:

- Depending on the type--a tree is nothing more than a cylinder with a sphere on top or maybe it’s just a cone.

- The same goes for a dog—cylinders, a sphere, and a cone for the muzzle, maybe.

- A portrait of a human face--nothing but spheres, a cylinder, and maybe a cone or two with hair added.

You get the picture (pun intended, of course)?

So, If you can remember Cezanne's simple quote when you’re sketching or laying down your initial drawing on a canvas, it can help you achieve a really good, artistic look for your work.


Monday, June 22

How to Save on Art Supplies

Today’s Image
Some of My Art Supplies

I was out yesterday and found some good deals on art supplies although I hadn’t planned on shopping for them at all. That’s what makes it even better I think, like winning something unexpectedly.

If you follow the OrbisPlanis, then you know I’m frugal, which is a nice way of saying penny-pinching. I will tell you that’s true. It’s not that I wouldn’t pay the ticketed retail price for quality items and art supplies, but why would anyone when it’s so easy to find sales and bargains on brand name products?

Unless I’m completely out of something or must have a specific item or color I almost never pay full price for my art supplies. What that means is that I’m always shopping for supplies subconsciously, and that’s how I keep my art studio cart fully stocked.

I know there are different retail and art supply stores depending on where in the world you reside, and you may be somewhat limited. That being the case, some of the information in my blog may not be applicable in all cases, but the principle of shopping for bargains will be.

Here are some things I do to find savings:

Clip Coupons - Subscribe to the Sunday newspaper and save the advertisements and supplements of local arts and crafts stores and office supply stores. As regular as clockwork, two major arts and crafts retailers in my region of the US advertise their weekly specials in the Sunday paper. Every other week either one or both of these retailers include a 40 percent or 50 percent OFF coupon on any one item in the store. This is how you can really save on high priced supplies, such as the most expensive paint, or a high ticket item, such as an easel or light table. When you know you’re going to need or want something, just wait for the weeks when these coupons are available. And these coupons are in addition to other specials also included in the ads. I know a lot of people don’t subscribe to a newspaper at all, but the money you spend on the paper can easily be recouped in your savings on art supplies with these coupons.

Shop Clearance Aisles - When I happen to be in the neighborhood of one of the art supply or crafts stores, even if I’m not out shopping for any supplies, I will stop to check out their clearance aisles or sections. Not all retailers have clearance sections, but the ones in my area do, and I shop them regularly. Also, depending on the size of city you live in, they may have multiple locations—go to several locations within a reasonable distance because different items will be on clearance at each location. You don’t want to drive for an hour just to save $1US, but for example, there are 14 locations of one of the arts and crafts stores in my metro area, and I shop the clearance aisles at the four nearest to me. I’m always finding paint that is just past its expiration date or paint brushes or pencils that have sat around on the shelf too long. These are brand names, too. Watercolor paint in the 17 ml. size can be marked down as much as 75 percent. I got a 60 percent discount yesterday on 11 Prismacolor watercolor pencils in the clearance section. What a deal.

Ask for a Discount - So simple. That’s how I got 20-percent off a 3-pack of 300 lb. (640 gsm) Arches watercolor paper yesterday. There was a sign that advertised the 140 lb. paper on sale at 1/3rd off the regular price. At the checkout counter I just asked if they ever put their 300 lb. paper on sale, and was told they would give me a 20-percent discount right then, so I bought it. That meant each sheet was only $8.33US. If you were to buy a single sheet, not on sale, it's $17US. What a bargain. Also, while you're there, sign up to receive their email online specials.

Since you’re reading the OrbisPlanis online, you’re probably thinking, what about shopping online, can’t you save a lot? My experience has been yes and no. You will normally see cheaper prices online than in a retail store, that’s true. However, you almost always have to pay for shipping, and that can negate the savings. I know, they often offer to waive the shipping charges as a special, and if they do, it can be a good deal. But watch out, if they waive the shipping charge, they may have a minimum quantity or purchase order you must spend to get that deal. And have you tried to return anything?!

Bottom line--caveat emptor.


Thursday, June 18

The Joy of Sketching - Six Benefits for Artists

Today’s Image
Pencil Sketch on Paper
Copyright 2007

I’ve been wanting to write about the subject of sketching in the OrbisPlanis Art Blog for a while, but things have a way of being put off, if you know what I mean.

What prompted me to think of sketching as a subject was a gift I received several months ago. It’s a sketchbook. It’s a real hardbound book, and that’s the actual title on the cover—Sketchbook. The subhead says “archival quality drawing paper acid-free/176 pages.” The pages are crisp and white and almost feel like vellum. Very nice.

I put it on a shelf with all my other art books, and it’s just been lying there since. But I’m going to start keeping it in a prominent, easy-to-grab spot so that I will use it and take it with me when I go places. I don’t sketch enough, and I bet you don’t either. Shame on us. If we call ourselves artists, then we should be sketching—all the time.

When I renewed my interest in art—it’s been a couple of years now, the very first thing I did was to sketch. If you’ve been an OrbisPlanis reader from the beginning, then you may recall that one of my favorite kinds of art was, and still is, line drawing. Today’s Image is one of my earlier sketches.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step, as the old saying goes, so I pulled out one of my pencils, looked at a couple of photos in magazines for reference, and began to sketch away. It had been a long time since I had drawn anything, I’m talking decades here.

Well, it was exhilarating. There’s nothing quite like sketching on a wide-open sheet of paper to give you a sense of personal freedom. Plus, you can draw whatever you want. How many things in life allow you to do whatever you want, whenever you want? Not too darn many, but sketching is one of them.

As I said, as artists we need to be sketching all the time. Here a few of the many benefits:

1. Keeps your drawing skills fresh – like everything else, if you don’t use it, you lose it.

2. Makes you not only look, but also see – which we artists know is the key to everything in art.

3. Lets you capture subjects en plein air – there’s nothing like viewing a subject on-the-spot.

4. Gives you ideas for future drawings and paintings – who’s not looking for their next motif?

5. Gives you pride of ownership – it’s all yours and no one else’s

6. Captures your ideas and interest for future reference – and can also be an archive (there was an exhibit of nothing but Pablo Picasso’s early sketches at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art last year that I was fortunate enough to see).

You can probably think of other benefits, and the barrier to entry is low. There are few people in the world who don’t have a pen or pencil and paper lying around. That and time are all you need. What are we waiting for—an engraved invitation, as a close relative of mine used to say? So, rather than sitting around thinking about it, why not get out there and sketch it?


Monday, June 15

Tips for Painting Fog, Mist, and Overcast Days

Today’s Image
Malibu Morning
Watercolor on Paper
Copyright 2009

Few things in life are truly easy, painting not being one of them. But even artists for whom painting comes naturally, rendering landscapes or seascapes with fog, mist, or overcast days is often difficult. Today’s Image is my watercolor of a Malibu beach on an overcast morning.

What makes it difficult and sometimes challenging to portray this very natural weather state?

First, let’s look at the opposite—a bright, clear, sunny landscape or seascape. The sky is clear, the clouds, if any, are puffy and white; the horizon is distinct; the hues are pure; and shadows are sharp. There is a lot of contrast between dark and light with the accompanying changes in values. None of that is the case on a misty, foggy, or overcast day where everything is subdued, especially the colors.

Following are a few things and tips I have learned about painting this weather state in a land- or seascape. Caveat--since I paint using watercolor and acrylics, these don’t necessarily apply to oils.

The basics still apply only they’re different—objects in the distance, including the horizon, always appear bluer due to the atmosphere, but because of the overcast, they also take on a grayish white tinge as well. If you’re using watercolor, this means your washes should be almost colorless.

As you begin, keep in mind that you need to tone everything as you paint. It’s easy to forget this, but if you do, one area will look brighter as compared to others and will spoil the effect. Tone it down.

Pick a suitable palette. The watchword is subdued and limited. No bright anything. It’s similar to painting a winter scene in which the land and foliage are dull, but you may not be painting snow.

The horizon line, be it flat land, mountains, sea, or treetops, is noticeably blurred. As you paint, you should continually remind yourself of this so that you don’t make the horizon a distinct line. In my watercolor, I went back after the area had dried with a small brush to ensure the area was blurred. Just FYI—a fancy, art word for this blurring is sfumato.

Mist and fog can be tricky to paint. For one, there are different kinds of fog--light or dense, and depending on the time of day, it looks different and so should your painting. Mist is not as dense as fog, and it usually floats along near the surface of the land or water. One thing that perhaps makes painting these a little easier is that you don’t have to worry so much about showing details since they’re basically washed out. Of course, objects closer to the picture plane will be somewhat sharper even in the fog or mist.

If you’re painting a seascape, which in itself can be difficult, an overcast day just adds another level of difficulty, I think. Remember the color of the water is a reflection of the color of the sky. If the sky isn’t blue, which it won’t be on an overcast day, the water won’t be either. In addition to the usual difficulty of painting water—waves, foam, the shore--selecting and mixing the right colors on an overcast day is even more difficult. This means you have to really study what colors are present either in plein air or your reference photo. In my painting, Malibu Morning, offshore the water was a very washed out pale light gray-blue. However, near the shore the water took on the color of the sand and is gray-beige and mauve.

Trees and foliage should not look very green. Of course, it also depends on the type of tree and foliage. Greens should be dark with very little yellow if you mix it; they’re also washed out and can take on a brownish or dark gray color.

Even though there are no distinct shadows, there are still shadows although they will be lighter. Remember to include them.

As I said, it’s tricky. Good luck!


Thursday, June 11

A Few of Your Favorite (Art) Things

Today’s Image
A Cerulean Blue Sky in Rowboat
in the Impressionist style

Do you have art favorites? I know I do, and you probably do, too. You may not think you do because you never took the time give it a thought. But I’ll bet you probably do—no, you absolutely do have favorites. My acrylic painting, Rowboat, in the Impressionist style is Today's Image.

After reading today’s OrbisPlanis art blog in toto, please, spend a few minutes thinking about it. Then you’ll be able to tell everyone what your art favorites are; that is, your favorite piece of art work, your favorite artist, your favorite medium, your favorite genre, and, what the heck, why not add your favorite color, too?

Your art favorites don’t have to be related to each other. For example, you don’t have to choose your favorite color, which is in a painting done in your favorite medium, which happens to be in your favorite genre, and, oh, by the way, is by the artist who painted your favorite piece of artwork—unless those all happen to be your favorites. Your favorites can be mutually exclusive or not.

Here are my favorites, at least at this point in time in my life. I boldly reserve the right to change my favorites at any time. And so should you.

My Favorite Piece of ArtworkLadder to the Moon by Georgia O’Keeffe

I have a framed print of that famous piece of art hanging over a sofa. I’ve hung it on various walls for years. I purchased it at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA, while on a business trip in 1997. It takes me to the high desert night when I focus on it, and I never get tired of looking at it.

Your Favorite Piece of Artwork

My Favorite ArtistClaude Monet

This is the most difficult choice for me and may be for you, too. There are so many to choose from, living and dead, famous and not, in all kinds of genres that it’s almost impossible to narrow it down to one. But it’s the task at hand.

A lot of you will think I’m probably swayed by all the attention Monet still receives worldwide, and maybe that’s true. However, after I actually read the book The Impressionists cover to cover, captions and all, I became an instant Claude Monet fan, and still am. I look for books with his work and will go out of my way to visit any museum that has one of his paintings.

Your Favorite Artist

My Favorite Medium – Acrylic (on stretched canvas)

If you are a regular visitor to OrbisPlanis art blog or follow me on Twitter, you know I’m currently studying watercolor. But, what really got me re-invigorated with art a couple of years ago was my experience painting with acrylic. It’s a creative-inducing medium that is very forgiving for artists at all skill levels. You can use it like oils with a limited palette, or you can use all the colors available and be as creative as your soul will allow. If watercolor makes me as happy, I may change my mind.

Your Favorite Medium

My Favorite GenreImpressionism (no doubt about it)

Oh, I like realism well enough in landscapes and still lifes, and I’m also drawn to some of the Western motif paintings of the late 19th and early 20th century. But nothing draws my attention faster or makes me want to study the subject and style (sometimes brushstroke by brushstroke) more than an Impressionist painting—especially one by Monet or one of the other original Impressionists. They’re gauzy soft and seem to envelope you in their spell of the French landscape, people, and times.

Your Favorite Genre

My Favorite Color – Okay, Cerulean Blue

Your favorite color may not be specific just to your favorite art—it may also be your favorite color of many other things, such as clothing. But I picked cerulean blue because I really like it when it’s mixed with titanium white and used to paint a bright sunny sky (for example, in a Claude Monet landscape).

Your Favorite Color

So, those are my art favorites. What are yours?

Try this-- print out this page on your printer and write down your current favorites and put it away wherever you keep you art supplies. This time next year, and every year, pull it out and see if your tastes have changed.


Monday, June 8

Rob Erdle's Watercolors at the Pearl MFA

Today’s Image
The Pearl MFA

I hope you’re fortunate enough to live in an area or community that supports the arts. I also hope your art community provides ample art venues for you to visit and to enjoy a variety of creative artwork. I count myself lucky to be in an area that does just that.

On a recent weekend, I visited one of the suburban wings of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston (MFAH) in the northern suburb of Spring. Having a good many art venues to choose is one of the advantages of living in a large metropolitan area. As I said, I count myself lucky to have quality art and venues available all around the metro area.

The Pearl MFA, as this particular wing is called, is named after its benefactor, Pearl Fincher. It’s in partnership with the MFAH although it is privately funded, which says a lot about the art lovers in this area. In addition to hosting exhibits in genres including both Western art and paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries, it also spearheads many educational opportunities for students and adults.

But the reason I visited was to see watercolors. I am studying watercolor, and any time there’s an exhibit of watercolors, I’m interested.

I was not aware of Rob Erdle or his artwork until I saw the exhibit at the Pearl. But after viewing them, I will tell you his works are brilliant. At least thirty of his paintings are on loan for the exhibit, which is named Floating Like an Untied Boat, the title of one of his paintings.

They are mostly landscapes and waterscapes, and each one grabs your attention with its astoundingly vivid colors. One of his works, Towards Mariengen, is rendered monochromatically, but the color is such a bright red, you hardly notice it’s one color.

I would describe his style as free-flowing and with a lot of depth that brings the viewer right into the painting. If I had to choose one word to describe Erdle’s work, it would be luminosity because most of his paintings seem to glow. His use of contrasting colors around the focal point to achieve this is masterful.

Most of his paintings in the exhibit are large, very large actually. One, Looking East: Colorado River is 96 x 51 in (244 x 129.5 cm), and there are several others of that size. In addition to paintings of western US motifs, Erdle also traveled extensively in China, and you can see the Asian influence in many of the paintings. You will also see paintings of his European travels, and, being a fan of Claude Monet, my favorites in the exhibit were his two paintings in the gardens at Giverny at dawn and at dusk.

Rob Erdle was a professor of fine arts in painting and watercolor at the University of North Texas for thirty years, including Director of the Watercolor Program. Erdle died in 2006, but through traveling exhibits, such as this, his inspiring work can still be enjoyed.

Visit to see some of his great work.


Thursday, June 4

Google "Art" - See What Happens

Today’s Image
The GoogleTM Logo

Google is ubiquitous, at least for me; it’s my “home page” when I go online, and it seems I’m always using it for something. OrbisPlanis is even published by Blogger, although I’ve checked out WordPress, which looks like an excellent alternative for blogging, too.

Anyway, since the OrbisPlanis art blog is all about art, I wondered what would happen when I Googled just the term “art.” Google is somewhat famous for its list of “Top 10 Hits” when you Google something.

Here’s what you get, at least on June 4, 2009, around noon, US CDT:
  1. – Poster, Art Prints, and Framed Art Leader: It’s a commercial website that sells all kinds of art and posters and frames online. (Don’t you wish you had the rights to use the URL!?)

  2. Deviant Art –Where Art Meets Application: I was so sure this was going to be a pornographic site, so I was really surprised to find that it appears to be just an online art store where you can sell your art; it appears to sell art-oriented clothing, too. It says it’s the “largest art community in the world!” Who knew? (Whew!)

  3. Art- Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: Wikipedia is everywhere! I can’t figure out why anyone would want to look up the term “art” though. (Talk about ubiquitous…)

  4. News results for art: I had no clue what this was going to be, but it turned out to be Google News that I’m guessing was tagged with the search term ”art.” The headline on the first story was “Artery Exhibit Prompts an Art Attack in Arkansas (a US state) Town.” (OMG!)

  5. Artcyclopedia, the Fine Art Search Engine: Its tagline is “The Guide to Great Art on the Internet.” It looks like you can do a look up by artist name, artwork title, or location as well as clicking on their long list of Art Movements (from abstract expressionism to ukiyo-e printmaking) or Most Popular Artist from Last Month. (Looks useful I’ll have to try it.)

  6. Applied Research and Technology, Inc.: This is the commercial site for ArtProAudio, which sells all kinds of electronic equipment (power amps, graphic equalizers) for producing music, and nothing to do with visual or graphic art. (Totally out of place, but must be popular to be ranked no. 6 in the wrong category.)

  7. Art Net –also known as Art on the Net: This site says, “Join fellow artists in sharing art from the source, the artists themselves. We are Artists helping artists come online to the Internet and the WWWeb;” there are several links, such as artist studios, gallery rooms, and artist resources. (Looks interesting; I’ll have to check it out.)

  8. Arts in the Yahoo! Directory: This is just a Yahoo directory page with a whole lot of art categories to link to, such as artists, design arts, art history, visual arts, museums and galleries. (Boring…)

  9. eBay-Art, Original Art and Paintings Items on In addition to the link being ungrammatical, this is just an eBay directory page with links to art, artists, and other art-related things similar to the Yahoo directory. (I’ll say it again, boring…)

  10. Contemporary Arts Museum Houston: Now, I don’t know if it’s just coincidental or what, but I was very surprised that this was the no. 9 hit. Not that the CAMH isn’t worthy of being no.9, I’ve been there, and it very much is; it’s just that I would have expected the Musee d’ Orsay or the Getty or the Guggenheim to get more hits. (Unexpected.)

  11. What Is Art? Google Books Result: I wasn’t expecting this at all—the site contains the whole book-- What Is Art? --by Count Lyof N. Tolstoi translated into English from Russian. You can download it as a PDF, too. (Isn’t it odd that so many people Google “what is art?” It is to me…)

I know, I know, there are 11 top hits on the first page rather than 10. Google must have erred. And with tongue firmly in cheek, I was shocked not to see the OrbisPlanis Art Blog in Google’s “Top 10 Hits.” But tomorrow is a new day, and maybe Google will get it right!


Monday, June 1

Five Tips for Selecting a Good Motif

Today’s Image
Sample Photo from Microsoft

Today’s OrbisPlanis art blog is about selecting a good motif for you artwork. One thing I’ve learned recently from taking art instruction from a professional is how important it is to select a good motif. “Good” is relative to what pleases you, but simply put: if what you’re going to paint doesn’t look good in plein air, still life, or from a reference photo, then chances are your finished work won’t either.

Of course, that doesn’t mean your painting may not look or be better than the original scene or photo. I’ve seen and experienced that—I was glad someone told me my painting was better than the reference photo from which it was taken. But later I thought my effort could have turned out to be a real waste of time if that were not the case.

I’m talking mostly about motifs for conventional paintings (a term I don’t like, but can’t think of a better one) in the realistic style. Motifs for contemporary abstract or expressionistic works may be less apparent.

So, how do you select a good motif?

The big No. 1 is that you must like what you’re going to paint. Depending on your style and work habits, you are probably going to spend at least a couple of hours, and maybe a couple of years, on your work. I think you will find the experience much more pleasant if you actually like what you’re creating; otherwise, you may find yourself being accused of being temperamental or moody. Yikes!

No one can figure out what you like but you. We are all individuals, but both our genes and our backgrounds will point us in some direction. If you don’t know what types of objects or scenes you like to paint yet, you need to spend some quality time with yourself to figure it out and then come back to the proverbial table. By doing so, you will save yourself a lot of future hand-wringing and angst.

Once that’s more or less settled, here are four other things you can do to select a good motif. They are:

2. Good Composition – This is so important. You need to have a focal point and balance, or it won’t work (very well). You can help make this happen by using cut-out cardboard corners or your hands, if nothing else, to frame your view before you begin. Or if you’re using a reference photo, consider editing it in Photoshop first.

3. Know Your Colors – At least be aware of the predominant hues in the overall scene so that you can select the proper palette when you begin to paint. Look for ways to use a limited palette and see if there are color triads you can use to bring harmony to the work.

4. What is the Mood? – It’s perfectly OK to paint a haunting graveyard full of yellow butterflies and Bambi under a rainbow, but just be aware of the mood you’re setting for the viewer. If it will confuse them, it probably isn’t working.

5. Would You Buy It and Hang It in Your Home? – The big litmus test. Would you actually buy the painting and hang it in your home to look at for a long time? This is closely tied to No. 1—if you don’t like it, will anyone else? And if not, why bother?