Digital Painting Tip - A Fresh Perspective May 02, 2015 10:13


When I used to make prints in a darkroom, as soon as my print was fixed and washed, I’d bring it into the light and attempt to evaluate it. I’d study the composition, the tonal quality, the color — always asking myself what could be done to make a better print. As part of that evaluation process, I would look at my print in a mirror. By doing this, It was almost like seeing my work for the first time. This new perspective allowed my to see the overall composition, the shapes, the various tones — the photograph itself — in a new way.

Even as my darkroom has changed from wet to digital, I continue to evaluate my work from different perspectives.  In the digital darkroom we actually have available to us many more options for viewing our work in different ways as we paint.  We can zoom in and out, rotate our painting using the rotate-view tool, flip it horizontally or vertically using Edit/Transform.  We can even convert our paintings to black and white to evaluate the tonal relationships.  All with push-button ease.

When you work on a painting for a while you sometimes lose the ability to know what’s working and what isn’t.  Certainly stepping away from your painting for a time might bring new perspective, and renewed passion.  But using these other tools regularly as we paint can help to keep the process fresh — while providing us with useful insight.