Painter's Fatigue? Break Your Piece.
“Ive been doing a few paintings lately but I feel like I’m not spending nearly enough time on them as I should because I get to a certain point and stop thinking it looks good and that I cant add much more, any tips?”
Painters fatigue happens when you fall in love with your piece. Either you love to gaze upon its glory, or you love to hate it. Either way, you’re too attached, and it’s time for a reality check.
1) Flip or rotate canvas
Give your piece some self reflection. One of the oldest tricks in the book, equivalent to holding things up to a mirror, this has been done for a very long time. Hotkey this shit, do this often. You may think you’re drawing is stable, but this simple test will reveal otherwise.
2) Adjust curves to push contrast and colors
Part of knowing how good a piece is depends on how much you can push it around before it starts to break down. Throw the contrast way high and see what looks funny. Pushing things to extremes reveals weaknesses and tackling specific problems may give you some ideas you didn’t have before. Also, you can’t control how light/dark everyone’s screen is in the world so may as well make sure it looks decent in a range and not just for YOU.
3) Zoom waaaaay out
Ever go to an art gallery or a museum and see a painting 30 feet away? If the painting is decently constructed, chances are, you’ll appreciate it at a distance, then walk up to get a better look at it. The same goes for digital work. Push it to an extremely small size and see how it breaks down. If it’s a total bust at that scale, murder your darling without hesitation and start over.
4) Work on multiple things at once
Don’t just murder your darlings, betray them. Let them know that they aren’t exactly special by giving attention to something else. In fact, give enough attention to painting #2 so you can betray it as well by going back to painting #1. You’ll tire of the one and gaze on the other with fresh judgemental eyes.
5) Take a break, do something else
Forsake your craft and go for a walk. Play a video game. Think about the inevitable heat death of the universe. File your taxes. Make yourself truly desperate to escape the reality that binds you and go crawling back to the painting with fresh tear-filled eyes.
6) Look at LOTS of gorgeous art
Yes, there is a veritable avalanche of amazing work that you can’t even touch in terms of concept, quality, and technique. Gaze upon it. Get your eyes used to that. Spoil yourself a little. Feast on the sea of splendor then return to your work with newfound determination, jealousy, and bloodrage.