Daily Paintworks (DPW) | About DPW

How to "fix" a painting

For those of you who may have, not necessarily a block, trouble with getting a painting “right”, do you put it away for a bit, move on to another painting, start something new, wipe it clean (depending on far the painting has gone), keep re-working it?
I seem to get to a point where I realize this has gone off track a little, and do some re-working, to no avail. I sometimes put it away and start a new one. Or in the course of re-working it I create another problem area.
Just curious…and thanks for the input…

Sometimes I put it away for a while - being careful to turn it so that I cannot see it. Then, after a few days I take another look and sometimes I immediately see what is wrong with it. Or, I see that it is not as bad as I thought.

Another trick is to look at it in a mirror.

And one more trick is to scan it into the computer, put it in Photoshop, add layers and play with adding more shadows or whatever.

1 Like

I agree with Jeff Atnip. Scanner, mirror, and time.
Usually it’s one of two things: I didn’t get the drawing right, or the value patterns aren’t working.

Thanks for the tips. I also find if I leave it a couple of days, the problem jumps out at me…the mirror trick also works!

I try looking at the painting upside down, I can usually spot the error, if that doesn’t work, I hide it for awhile. A fresh look days or weeks later often helps me solve the problem. Some I just want to throw against the wall. :joy:

1 Like

I love all of those suggestions and I agree! But I also have to admit, sometimes I have a painting that just isn’t good and it’s never going to be good. Sometimes after reworking it, I’m just tired of looking at it and it isn’t bringing me any joy. I have painted over a few paintings and have ended up with something special and so glad I didn’t keep investing time and effort into a painting that wasn’t working.
All of that said ~ I had a customer come to my home to look at paintings. There was a painting that I had never even put on my website because it was silly looking and just wasn’t “worthy”. She spotted it and that’s the first painting she picked up! Sometimes we are our own worst critics. It might be worth while to have an art friend critique the piece when you get stuck ~ you may get legitimate suggestions or find that the piece is really appealing to someone else.


Thanks Tori! Yes I have also painted over a fair share of paintings that had reached an end…A couple have led to a new painting, but sometimes I start over with the same idea in mind and occasionally am successful.
I do have an art friend who is brutally honest, so I know I can trust her input…but boy does it smart! haha

sometimes I will, turn the painting sideways or upside down, and stand back to view it from a different angles. Or depending on the area I’m struggling with ill do a study on it then go back to the painting. Or set it a side and work on something else for awhile then com back with a fresh perspective.

I wonder if it might be worth a try to set up a “Painting Critique” section to get constructive criticism from other artists? Or maybe that might open a can of uncomfortable worms ??

Look under Challenges, there is a permanent critique section https://www.dailypaintworks.com/challenge/the-critique-me-challenge/14

I love the idea of a “Painting Critique” section.

The critique challenge is already here https://www.dailypaintworks.com/challenge/the-critique-me-challenge/14

Thank you Linda… I wasn’t aware of this section…thanks for the tip…great idea !

1 Like