When is an expressive watercolor complete?
The final phase of an expressive watercolor
When I’m working on a loose watercolor and getting to the final stage of the painting, I’m often so lost in detail that I can´t look objectively at the whole picture.
The narrow view prevents me from seeing what the painting still needs or if the picture is possibly already complete.
I don´t want to stop because I’m so involved in the painting process and I really want to create the perfect picture. But I know that the temporal distance to the painting is important to have a new look at it.
If I just put the watercolor down for a day, my point of view changes and I can see what´s necessary. But sometimes a painting takes weeks or even month to complete.
It is helpful if I look at the picture not only in the temporal but also in the spatial distance.
From a little further away I see things that I don´t see nearby.
A checklist can also help if a picture is complete or not.
Here are some questions and answers:
- Every picture needs a point of interest where the view should be directed. To put this scene in the middle of a painting is less appealing. Therefore, a critical examination of whether this is properly positioned is important. Does it perhaps need more emphasis to make it more visible? You can do that with stronger tonal contrasts. Or by putting the complementary color nearby.
- Does the color of an image tend to be cool? Can the liveliness be increased by incorporating a warming hue in some places. Or the other way around.
- For the human eye strongly delimiting edges are more evident than soft and blurred ones. As a result, more sharp edges may appear where the viewer’s gaze is to be directed. Softer edges are better at less important parts of the picture. If all margins are equally stressed, a work can appear very stiff.
- Are less important areas too much worked out? The secret of exciting spontaneous images is simplification.
- Does the picture need interesting color accents in some places? Here you just have to be brave and put this into the picture.
This list can be extended as desired.
In this way I can find out what my picture still needs.
Never throw away failed expressive watercolors
Especially with the spontaneous watercolor painting there are unfortunately also often failures. But just here you can still save a picture with other image sections. With a halved passepartout I search new image excerpts. Often, then, a great motive is created.
That’s why I never throw away unsuccessful work! If you have older works that you are not satisfied with, try this approach.
Have lots of fun with it!
I hope you like these ideas and tips.
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