Back when I had a home studio, I was able to prop my paintings up in the living room and stare at it as I watched TV. This enabled me to contemplate what I what I had finished, figure out my problem areas, and decide what I would do next. It was extremely helpful in my painting process. Now that I have a studio space at Art Explosion, it's a lot harder to contemplate my work as I used to. It's too hard and inconvenient to load my painting in my car and bring it home everyday in order to prop it up in my living room. It doesn't make sense to do this since I now work larger and I don't want oil paint everywhere. Fortunately I have an iPhone so that I can take many pictures and look at them while at home.
I didn't think I would like looking at my work this way. I thought it would be too awkward and not true to what the actual painting looks like, but now that I have been doing this for a year, I find that it is actually more useful than my previous method. When I paint, I usually block out shapes. I don't paint "the face" of my subjects, instead I paint the shapes within the face. I get so caught up in the shapes that it's then hard for my eyes to blend these blocks and form the image. This makes it very hard for me to see if I am on track with my painting. I find that if I take a picture of the painting, that "distance" helps me see what my painting really looks like. The image appears blended and more cohesive. I find that I often take pictures of my work and look at it, not only at home when I am done painting, but also while I am in the process of working on a painting. It, along with stepping away and looking at my work from a distance, helps me become a better painting and makes my work technically better.