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How to make paintings look more professional?

(Jim Musil) #1

I’m really just starting out as a painter and as a member of DPW. I’m curious if people have any tips on how to make a painting look more finished … more professional … more polished … more packaged.

Anybody want to share some secrets?


(Sunny Avocado) #2

Hi Jim, welcome! Well, that is SUCH a broad question, afraid I don’t even know what you are asking. :confused:

(Jim Musil) #3

Yes, perhaps that was too vague. :slight_smile:

When I visit galleries or artists’ studios, I find that some paintings just feel more “professional” and “finished”. I’m not really talking about the quality of the art or the skill of the painter, rather, the paintings themselves seem to be presented more cohesively. I’m assuming it has something to do with topcoats or framing or the signature or lighting.

I guess I was hoping for something like this:

“After I’m done applying paint to a painting, I always ___________ before I show it publicly.”

(Sunny Avocado) #4

I do see a lot of established artists have developed a style to their ‘finishes’, like the same or similar frames to a series. Or they hang square together, or series together or similar subject, similar format. If they have been around awhile, they have a cohesive quality to their work that gives them a professional or finished feeling and I think we are noticing their style, their fave colors, themes, etc. Something like that? No? Ok, someone else take a stab!

(Ken Rice) #5

I’ll take a wee stab at this question.

I believe a painting looks finished because the painting is well considered. By this I mean the artist has looked at the work several times with the constant thought going through their mind, “Does anything stick out that looks wrong”? Paintings with a bad composition, too many confusing focal points or distractions spoil the cohesiveness of a painting. And of course an nice even coat of varnish at the end can work wonders.

(Theresa Taylor Bayer) #6

In general I try and keep the back and sides of it looking as neat as possible. I write my full name on the back of the painting with a good marker, copyright date, and contact info. That plus a good even coating of varnish.

(Theresa Taylor Bayer) #7

Re. the signature, I plan a spot for it in the painting. And I don’t always get it right on the first try. I’ll wipe it and sign again if need be. I want my signature to look just right.

(Linda McCoy) #8

Hi Jim! There are no secrets. A professional painting starts the minute you walk into your studio drawn by the familiar smell of the paint. It starts the minute you place your loaded brush on the canvas, and you feel the canvas bounce. It starts with knowing your palette so well you almost don’t need to look at it. It starts when your years of practice and knowledge arrive on the painting and the form and colors come together that makes the artwork uniquely you. It continues during the process repeating over and over to yourself “light against dark, warm against cool.” It continues when you take the painting and look at it in a mirror or upside down to catch anything that doesn’t read right. It takes hard work, commitment, passion and years of successful and sometimes failed paintings. It takes painting through the rough spots when you’d rather throw the canvas at the wall than to continue. It’s in the confidence reflected in your signature once you are finished and the sheer joy of seeing the painting with renewed enthusiasm once the varnish brings the now dry colors back to life. It takes making sure the painting is properly noted in the back with your name, title, size and medium. When mailing the painting to a collector it takes proper packaging and consistency so the collector knows what to expect. A thank you note is essential; after all, if the collector was buying in person, you would thank them. There is no magical finish, the magic is you.
Enjoy your painting journey, Jim. Honor your talent and your paintings will look more finished, more professional, more polished and more packaged. It won’t necessarily come easy, but worth every moment. Welcome to the Daily Paintworks!

(John Shave) #9

Spot on Linda. It takes sometimes years of practice to become a professional. When you become more professional the finish follows automatically.

(Natalia Clarke) #10

Jim, I recommend You one of my favorite book for artists :

  ALLA PRIMA II - Expanded Edition

Everything I Know About Painting, and More
By Richard Schmid
You would love it.
You can buy it on his website www.richardschmid.com or on Amason
Best, Natalia Clarke

(Lendel Holmes) #11

I think you need to cover your canvas with a good under painting getting all the white covered. Then keep your paints moving all over the canvas working in all areas to create color harmony throughout the painting. The trick is not to stay in the same place to long but look for different areas that need work. It might also help to lay out the paints you are using to start with so you will not be introducing new colors that may not be compatible with what you are trying to achieve.

(Jim Musil) #12

Looks great, but it’s $150!

(Natalia Clarke) #13

Jim, go to link I give You.
It is Richard Schmid own website. You can buy it for $95. I know, I know it is still expensive. But, this is a book every Artist have to read. Make a present to your self ( for your Birthday, Christmas, Father’s Day…). You going to read and reread, and rearead it again and again.

It is about basic every artist must to know

Alla Prima By Richard Schmid

$ 95.00

Alla Prima By Richard Schmid

Alla Prima II Expanded Edition ​Everything I know About Painting, and More ​By Richard Schmid​

(milo masson) #14

I would like to share some my painting skills with you here. I hope these can help you.
First of all, practice make you perfect. Second, maybe you need to collect some better painting suppliers. More expensive paints produce richer colors. Third, Copy an old master work for study. Fourth, spark your artistic creativity. Fifth, design your composition and plan a color scheme before painting. Sixth, wonder at the world and collect art you admire.

(Marlene Lee) #16

Take more workshops from artists whose works you admired. There is so much to painting and it takes years to learn and incorporate into your painting practice.

(Bob Kimball) #17

I really love Richard Schimd’s work but his book are way to expensive for me. I know they must be worth it, but it’s one of those things, you know. Should I buy the book or should I buy food?

(Trisha Adams) #18

RE: Richard Schmid’s book, Alla Prima
My library will get any book through inter-library loan for $2. Maybe your library has a similar program.

(Valerie Smith) #19

I think when you use a varnish it makes it look really professional.