It’s easy enough to recognize when something is wrong with your work. It’s a good first step, but how do you figure out what exactly is wrong and needs adjusting?

One of the easiest ways is to turn your painting or drawing upside. This is going to make your brain stop focusing on what the subject is “oh hey, this is a flamingo” and force it to see the balance of everything more. The balance of color, values, contrast, shape, and weight of various areas in the painting. You’re not seeing a flamingo, you’re seeing the weight of the elements in the painting. This makes it easier to notice if something is standing out more than it should, or not enough.

What if you’re looking to improve the accuracy of a painting like for a portrait? Even the slightest shadow being off can distort the face. Turning your work upside down will help then too! In this case, you want your reference photo right next to the painting. Even better, take a photo of your painting and load it next to your reference photo in photoshop (or whatever editor you use) both upside down. The combination of seeing the work side by side AND in smaller form is almost as good as having someone else point out what’s different for you! It will be THAT much more obvious!

We all need to be reminded “Don’t drink the paint water”  and other fun artist sayings. 
Why not wear it on our clothes or coffee mugs to make sure we don’t forget?

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