Watercolor on Paper
Sometimes I don’t even know I have a problem. It’s only later when I see things differently that I know I had (or still have) the problem.
You’ll probably be surprised as you read on because I’m not talking about your drawing ability or media or knowledge of color theory or your style or technique.
I paint in a rather confined area. I have a table, an easel, a rolling stack of drawers, a couple of chairs, and my notebook computer, of course. It’s roughly a 10x10 ft. (3.05x3.05 m.) space, for me comfortable and cozy.
My space has a large double window facing west-northwest. A true-north light would be best, but I live with what I have. The window glass also has a tint to block some of the sun’s heat and rays. The best light comes in the afternoon from about 1 p.m. until 6 p.m., give or take, depending on the season of the sun.
In my space I plan, I paint, I re-paint, I finish a painting. Looks pretty good, if I do say so myself.
So what’s the problem?
Well, I go to critique class, which is in a professional artist’s studio. It’s on the second floor in a rather large space--I’m guessing it’s 30x25 ft. (9.14x7.63 m.). There is true-north light coming in from two side-by-side French doors plus a small window in the corner facing south.
In addition, there is a large rectangle of track lighting on the ceiling, along with several pot lights and a four-bulb light fixture on the ceiling fan. In other words, the place is flooded with natural and incandescent light.
As I place my painting on the easel. I am able to stand way back, at least 15 ft.(4.57 m.), and look at my work in dazzling light (compared to my space, anyway).
It looks pretty much altogether different than it did earlier in my space.
The values seem to be different and the colors have certainly changed. Not actually “changed,” you know, but they appear so different in this setting. And being able to stand back and see the painting NOT close up really does change the way it looks to the viewer.
Whatever suggestions I receive as critique, I have to filter when I get back to my space. And when I make the changes they again don’t appear the same as in my space at the next critique, and on it goes.
SPACE and LIGHT I am talking about, the basics of our physical and art world. What a difference they can make in how your painting appears.
If you are not able to enlarge your painting space or light-up your studio better, then you must view your “finished” painting in a larger room with brighter lighting or, better yet, take it out of doors and look at it in a different environment before declaring it “finished.”
Not the perfect solution, but better than being surprised when you hang it in a show or gallery.
Until next blog…