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How To Evaluate Your Art by Stephen Lursen

Stephen Lursen free Painting basics painting tutorial stephen lursen

Hi! Welcome to today's blog article where I talk about how you can evaluate, consider, and develop your artwork. To begin talking about how to evaluate art in general, you must first have a strong understanding of how to talk about the elements and principles of art and design. Once you can break apart a painting into its core elements and principles, you can critique it alone or in a group and ensure everyone else understands exactly what you're talking about. It also allows you to simplify a potentially complicated image to evaluate the core purpose or message within the art and help edit out the distracting elements. This content is necessary to maximize a work of art's impact and make it stand out in a room filled with competition.

Elements and Principles of art and design

These are the elements and principles of art and design. They are an objective and measurable means of categorizing your work, to justify whether or not a work of art is complete, and helps the artist evaluate what needs to be done throughout the process of making. This knowledge offers a vocabulary to describe and discuss a non-representational work of art that otherwise lacks description.

Ultimately the most important question to answer is this: "Is this painting satisfying to you?" If it is, Great! You're finished! If it is not satisfying to you first, then it is not finished.

"What is the intention of your painting?" Does this work of art fulfill its mission? How can you make alterations to your painting to maximize your work to become a more effective. No two paintings serve the exact same mission. Some intend to offer peace and tranquility, others intend to inspire action, and others intend to sink back into the background like an accessory to a space. There is no wrong intention for a painting, only effective and ineffective executions. I hope you enjoy watching my video!

Happy Painting! 


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  • Ben Gill on

    Great lesson Stephen :) You so right, the work isn’t done until you’re happy with it. I’ve been coming past this blog for a while now, the tutorials are always great!

  • Suzanne Woolf on

    Thanks for the great information. I’ve never taken the time to “formally” evaluate my work and now I have a great tool to do so. Some of my work I just don’t like, now maybe I can figure out why. Thank you!

  • Terry on

    Stephen, you are a wonderful teacher, as well as a talented artist! You know I’m a fan. I know that a piece isn’t done if I am not willing to share it with someone. It’s a gut thing. I ask myself (and the piece) “Do you need anything else to make you more beautiful? or peaceful or edgy?” etc. This references the goal that you mentioned about if it accomplishes its intention. You’ve stretched me like a canvas, today. Thank you! The value section was the MOST valuable for me. Gratitude.

  • Stephen Lursen on

    Dear Jenni Schwane, Thank you so much for reading and commenting! Yes! Absolutely! If you don’t like a painting, then you’re not finished. There is no amount of drawing or painting that cannot be made better by intentional reworking – to the point of being finished and satisfied. This reworking is not just in case you mess up or weren’t good enough, not at all! it is necessary part of a normal artist’s process. The idea is that we paint, and then consider what we just did, and then do something else to the painting in response, to continue producing our best. If a painting is ever too hard to finish, then it is ok to put it away for a while and then come back to it later when you have more clarity on what you want to do. Happy Painting! Stephen

  • Stephen Lursen on

    Dear Karen Dortschy, Thank you so much for reading and commenting! I miss our painting time together at the studio. You made me smile with saying that you ask yourself “WWSS”. :)

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