Self Critique Your Artwork with this Elements of Art Check-list

Self Critique Your Artwork with this Elements of Art Check-list
Insinuations (pastel) by Polly Castor

Makes sure you consult this check list frequently before calling your painting finished:

  • Unity/harmony: Do elements work together or are they fighting? What is the intention? Careful that too much harmony is not boring. There should be interest as well as a sense of completion.
  • Variety/contrast: Do I have enough variety of sizes? Does any element stand out by being different? Is my focal point clear? Is the value range wide enough?
  • Dominance/emphasis: What grabs my attention first? Why? Is that my intention? Think of 80/20 compositional emphasis, with 80% sameness in color, mark making, or value, and 20% differences.
  • Movement/direction: Try to be clear about where you want them to look. Show how the viewer’s eye is led into and through the painting. Does the eye leave the painting? Does the eye have a way to enter the painting?
  • Scale/proportion: what are the relationships in the piece? Do some come forward while others recede? Is their depth to the piece?
  • Repetition/rhythm: Is there visual repetition of elements that support the theme? Is there a variety of mark making, from more percussive and energetic, to more languid?
  • Balance: Do I intentionally want to throw off balance in the piece, or do I need to eliminate an element to improve balance?


Multitasking (acrylic with collage) by Polly Castor
I work to amplify good wherever I find it. I love color, texture, beauty, great ideas, nature, metaphor, deliciousness, genuine spirituality, and exploring new territory. I encourage authenticity, nurture creativity, champion sustainability, promote peace, and hope to foster a new renaissance where we all are free to be our most fulfilled, multifaceted, and terrific selves. Read more here.

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  1. […] and to follow that still small voice within themselves that knows what is the next step. When learning vocabulary with which to analyze their paintings they are better equipped to give them what they […]

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