Another perspective

February 24, 2020

When I’m hard at work at my easel with my eyes just inches away from my canvas for hours at a time, it is hard to get a realistic perspective on whether or not I am accomplishing my goal. Using my smart phone has changed the way I can look at my paintings.

Sometimes my paintings are quite large and I cannot get far enough away from them to get a feel for the overall painting.  In the past, I would take my wet oil painting very carefully to a larger room or take it outside so that I could step back far enough for the details to blend in together. Although I certainly paint with a lot of detail, I do not feel that the detail is the most important part. To me the most important part is the overall feeling and the light and to see that I need to step back. 

My smart phone is the perfect tool to fix these problems and to keep my wet oil paintings safe in my studio. Now I can take a picture and see it shrunk down right on my phone or tablet. Although that is a huge benefit, an even bigger benefit is being able to use filters to see the painting in a different way. Changing the painting to black-and-white on my phone helps me see if the overall lighting is correct and if there are any hotspots. Both the brightest whites and the darkest darks should be where you want the viewers eye to focus. Using technology to change my paintings to black-and-white helps me make sure the lighting is correct and that the viewer will focus on what I intend for them to.

“The Juniper Perch” is a great example of how using this technology helped me make sure the lighting was correct. It also helped me worry less about whether every tiny detail was perfect because being able to see that painting shrunk down made me confident that I achieved the overall feeling I was looking for.