Wednesday, 11 April 2012


I just received a question from someone who recently watched the video clip on The Artists Network, a rather old clip of my  PAINTING GARDENS dvd.   You can watch it here:
ARTISTS NETWORK.COM  if you click on this link, then on the main page on the right, you will see this image below, and can click on the image to view (you cannot do it here, sorry).

During the clip, you will see that I view my image in reverse, using a small hand mirror.  The questioner simply did not understand how I did this, because I talk about closing one eye to look in the mirror.  

Well, in fact, you just have to try it out, and make it work for you.  In my studio, I have a huge mirror, a floor-standing one, and all I have to do, to see my painting in reverse, is turn around and look in the mirror.  It is hardly practical to cart around a big free-standing mirror when working out of doors - which conjures up a wonderfully funny image I must say :)    so I developed this method of taking a new look at my painting.  I stand facing away from the painting, facing to one side or the other;  I put the mirror on my nose, and look INTO the mirror using the eye facing the reflective part...the other eye is closed.  In this way, I don't get confused my multiple images - the view in the mirror, and the view across the garden with the other eye!!!  I hope this makes sense.

Now some of you may be asking, why bother?   

Well, it often helps a lot to see your picture with "fresh eyes", suddenly, and rather magically,  passages of mishandled tone spring out at you;  incorrect proportions too. You will be surprised how often this happens, and you will wonder (albeit with some irritation sometimes) why on earth you couldn't see it while you were working.  Seeing the picture in reverse will be our "new eyes".........and because the image is smaller and far more "concentrated", the parts which need correction are far more obvious suddenly.

I am unable to demonstrate this with pictures here properly, but hopefully you can get the sense of it from the picture below (you can see it in action in the clip anyway) .I find it an exceptionally useful aid to painting when I am working and would not be without my trusty mirrors.   

Just for the fun of it, and to give you some sense of how it works,  I will put a picture here the correct way around, and then show it in reverse.  It is quite interesting to see how different they look and how we focus on slightly different things.

I hope you can see what I mean, and will give it a try for yourself.

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