Cindy Briggs

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How to track your watercolor progress

Sometimes as artists we don’t see our progress because we are too close to what we are 
creating. So what I recommend is to put up your paintings so when you walk into the room 
they are at a distance. Another way to see your painting at a distance is to take a photo of it 
or look at it reflected in a mirror.   Here are some questions to ask yourself:   1. Does my painting read well from a distance? If you can’t tell what your painting is then your 
values and shapes need some attention. Look at it in Black and white and that may help 
you see even better.   2. Do the colors sing? If you use too many colors they will all compete with each other. Try 
experimenting with color harmony and create paintings with a color statement. For 
instance what is the dominant color story – a specific color? Warm or cool? We are all 
drawn to color – you’ll discover you’re favorites as you continue to paint.   3. Is there something drawing attention that shouldn’t? You’ll know it when you see it. 
Minimize what isn’t important to the painting.   If you save your paintings as you go and put them up in order you’ll start to see your 
progression. Sometimes its a few steps forward then a couple steps backward – but as long as 
you keep painting you will keep progressing. Over time, you’ll have more control over the 
medium and find reasons to celebrate each time you paint. See mistakes as learning 
opportunities. And, know that when you are struggling it’s because you are pushing yourself 
and about to discover something new and step up a level.   My watercolor supply list includes some tips to get you started. To try one of my basic 
watercolor videos, please see the Mixing Watercolors: Watercolor Painting for Beginners, an online program which shares many of my techniques.      
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