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Improving Your Art Today. How do You Determine the Right Strategy for a Painting?


Artists thinking about what to paint
Thinking before Painting - concept can be important.

Determining the right strategy for a painting can be a personal and subjective process, and the following suggestions may not suit someone who is a more intuitive painter, but here are some general steps and considerations that can help guide you:


1. Clarify your artistic goals: Start by defining what you want to achieve with your painting. Do you want to create a realistic representation, express emotions, experiment with different styles, or explore a particular theme? Knowing your goals will help you make decisions throughout the painting process.


2. Research and gather inspiration: Look for inspiration from various sources such as art books, online galleries, museums, or even nature. Expose yourself to different artists, art movements, and techniques. This research phase can help you identify styles, color palettes, and compositions that resonate with you and align with your artistic vision. I love this book by Mimi Robinson. She has gone out into nature and looked at the colours Nature puts together.

Book about colour palettes
A book about colour palettes



Then in the book she has photos of the different places and matching colour palettes drawn from those landscapes, as you can see above. I find her a great source of inspiration - this is a must resource for every artists studio.


3. Sketch and plan: Before diving into the final painting, it can be helpful to make preliminary sketches or create a small study to explore different compositions and color schemes. This allows you to test ideas, refine your concept, and make decisions about the overall layout and structure of the painting.

Study Sketches for a later painting
Study Sketches for a later painting

4. Consider your medium and materials: The choice of medium (e.g., oil, acrylic, watercolor) and materials will influence your painting technique and approach. Different mediums have unique properties, drying times, and handling characteristics. Familiarize yourself with the materials you plan to use and consider how they can enhance your desired artistic outcome.


5. Experiment and take risks: Don't be afraid to experiment and take risks with your painting. Artistic growth often comes from pushing boundaries and trying new techniques. Allow yourself the freedom to explore different approaches, even if they don't always work out as planned. Embrace the process of learning and discovering what works best for you.


6. Develop a step-by-step plan: Once you have a clear idea of your desired outcome, break down the painting process into smaller, manageable steps. This plan can include decisions about underpainting, blocking in shapes, layering, and adding details. Having a structured approach can help you stay focused and organized throughout the painting process.


7. Seek feedback and reflection: Throughout the creation of your painting, seek constructive feedback from trusted sources such as fellow artists, art instructors, or art communities. Reflect on their input and consider how it aligns with your artistic goals. Remember that feedback is subjective, so it's essential to filter it through your own artistic vision and make choices that resonate with you.


8. Embrace revisions and adjustments: It's common for a painting to go through revisions and adjustments as you progress. Be open to making changes and adapting your strategy based on the evolving nature of the artwork. Sometimes unexpected outcomes or happy accidents can lead to new directions that enhance the overall piece.


9. Trust your intuition:While research, planning, and feedback are valuable, ultimately, trust your artistic intuition and instincts. As you gain experience, you'll develop a sense of what feels right for a particular painting. Listen to your inner voice and allow it to guide you in making decisions that align with your artistic vision.


Remember, determining the right strategy for a painting is a personal process, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Embrace the journey of artistic exploration and enjoy the creative process along the way.

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