Often times an artist does not know when he has produced a strong painting. Throughout art school a remember paintings that I thought would not fair well in critique often became well liked throughout the class. Then other paintings that I felt were very strong went unnoticed. I may just be in my mind that this is a strong painting. I need to explain what I did in detail so I can repeat the process.
The reference photo that I used is from a place I am very familiar with as I ride my bike to and from work past it every day. So the painting should be of a place I am familiar with. As I have an understanding and passion in describing this place.
The second thing a great painting needs to have is direction of light. The sun at 5:30 PM is starting to get lower in the sky creating shadows that have a life of their own. The shadows I feel are just as important as the positive space. The positive space describes shadows and the shadows describe the positive space.
The third thing a great painting needs is color. I started out with a pure yellow painted canvas. Used Matte Gel and thin layers of Yellow, Then thin layer of red, Then a thin layer of blue, then a thin layer of brown. Through all this layering I am changing the entire painting at the same time and allowing individual parts to grow unique color. As I get closer to the finishing product I stop doing full canvas glazes and glaze by color temperature. The areas that are warm get red and yellow and purple glazes. The areas that are cold get blue and brown mixtures. As I get closer and closer to finishing I use less pigment and let the Painting shape itself. I Just adjust the edges of the fields to give them sharp crisp lines with watered down paint.
Overall It is important that the painting be very tight and very loose at the same time. This is something that is hard to do at times. The image is a scene of a San Francisco hill. I want it to look like the hill so people can understand it is an actual place I am describing. But at the same time I want there to be energy movement and life. Thus the painting must be very tight and loose at the same time.