There was a piece that I featured a few weeks back as a work in progress. It is a 24″ by 48″ painting that I have decided to call Game of Life. I thought it was strong piece at the time and have nothing that swayed my opinion since, looking at it on a daily basis in the studio. But yesterday, as I was framing several pieces, the painting was laying on a table and from my vantage point it appeared upside down to me. I kept coming back to it with my gaze , noting how well the piece kept together in an almost abstract manner with the balance of the painting’s elements still strong.
I was really pleased by this as well as reminded of this earlier method of judging my work, where I would flip a painting over then set it on it’s ends to check it’s balance and to see if it still translated. I don’t do it very often anymore, instead trusting a judgement that has been shaped over the years that allows me to evaluate a piece incrementally as I work. But seeing this painting inverted reminded me how well this simple method worked for me in the past. It forced me to look at and judge the work in from a different perspective. I couldn’t be lulled into submission by the scene itself– it had to stand on strong compositional legs that created a bonded unity in the work.
Now, I don’t know if this method works for all work. I’m not sure all of my work stands the test. Probably not. But when it does pass this test, it’s a reassurance and validation that I really trust.
Here’s what Game of Life looks like in its normal state: