|'Beyond the Storm' 11x14 pastel ©Karen Margulis|
The advice I have frequently heard that it is time to stop when you have nothing more to say. That may be good advice but it is important to know if what you have said can be understood! Have you clarified your concept? Sometimes it is hard to tell. Sometimes you need to look at the painting with a fresh eye or in another way.
My favorite tool for giving me a fresh eye is to use a mat around the painting. I know this isn't a new or earth shattering idea and maybe you already do this. But quite frankly I forgot how effective it really is until I pulled out this mat today for a private class. I had stopped using mats for myself but no more! I am making them an important part of my painting process and here's why.
|Adding a mat to check for doneness|
- Putting a mat around a painting eliminates the clutter of a busy support board. Sometimes the tape or clips or pastel marks create distracting elements. The painting feels unfinished because the tools of creation are still in place. It is like having the scaffolding on a building. The building looks like it is under construction. Remove the scaffolding and voila.....it looks complete and finished.
- A mat allows for separation and space around the painting. It isolates the painting and forces us to look at what is inside the mat. Often we can then better focus on the parts of the painting that have clarity. All of the sudden the parts of the painting that we may have thought were unfinished now look right. It becomes easier to see that we don't necessarily need clarity and detail everywhere! We may just decide that the painting is done long before we thought it should be. Many an overworked painting can be saved with the use of a mat!
TIP: Step up your game! Try a fancy mat! I found this mat with a silver liner in an old frame in a thrift store. I took the mat and donated the frame and print. You need mats in the sizes that you paint the most. I also use clips to hold the mat over my painting so I can step back and evaluate for doneness!