How to Proofread Your Paintings

This is a great, but simple way to catch mistakes in your own artwork. All you need is one tool!

Because I usually create paintings I tend to phrase things in terms of “painting” most of the time, but all the techniques and advice provided in this post and most other articles relate to both drawing and painting alike. It’s the concepts that are usually important…hey I think that’s true for life as well.

A Solution

One of the simplest techniques for finding mistakes in your drawing or painting involves the use of a mirror. Look at your artwork in a mirror and you will find mistakes. How does this work? Seeing your artwork in a mirror reverses everything making it seem new and fresh to you. You will see your artwork the way a stranger will see it, as if you walked into the room and viewed your artwork for the first time, or at least closer to the first time.

The Benefits

While slaving over a drawing or painting all artists get too familiar with it and overlook many of its flaws and shortcomings. (much like an over-protective parent and her bratty, flawed child). OK. Back to the art. By looking in a mirror you stand a better chance of catching that sixth finger on a hand in a portrait, or a missing cast shadow from a single grape in a still life.

Besides reviewing your artwork in a mirror, you can also study your subject matter itself in a mirror to revive some of its “freshness”. It’s an all around great painting trick. So what are you waiting for? Go to your dollar store and grab a decent sized mirror that you can keep in your painting studio! Note: Putting your paintings away for several weeks and then looking at them is also a valuable experience but if we did that every time we wanted to proofread our paintings, they would take years to complete and I am starting to feel that life is too short as it is.

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