Cooling down …. is the painting done?

September Light

September Light
12″ x 12″ Pastel

In an earlier post we approached the “warm up” step of the painting process. Equally important is the later stage of a the painting process when you STOP and evaluate your canvas. Allow some time to step back and just observe. Are your color choices working in harmony? Is the composition pleasing? How does the painting read when you view from across the room? Are there any sweet “surprises? A splash of color that leads the eye through the painting? A strong area with the darkest dark and the lightest light meeting to bring visual excitement to the viewer? Is the vibration of the underpainting color showing through?

As you let your work “sit” for a bit, place it in the environment that closely resembles where it will hang in a home, sit across the room and take another look, what message is the painting giving you?  Is it peaceful, lively, provocative?  What was the intended emotion that you hope to generate with this painting?

There are times when we “get lucky” and feel that the painting has developed just as we hoped and we know when it is time to sign it. How wonderful it is when this happens, though most times there is much more evaluation and fine tuning that has to happen before you are willing to name the painting and add it to your inventory.

There are also times when I have taken all of the steps to cool down, recognizing there is still something “wrong” but I just cannot put my finger on it. Often my husband will give me very valuable feedback which is often linked to the “what is not right with this painting? Another invaluable resource is having other artists critique my work.  You learn so much from this kind of communication.

In summary, warming up, enjoying the intensive creative workout and finishing with a much needed cool down are part of the full creative process that keeps us fit!