The Sunlight Crit

Like a lot of people, most of my daylight hours are taken up with work, family and other various activities that occur at a scale larger than 28 - 54mm. As a result my painting occurs almost exclusively at night under a daylight bulb.

While a daylight bulb is a great source of light for painting (and something I use even on those occasions I am able to paint before sundown), it still can't quite compare with real daylight. So, each morning after a night of painting I come downstairs, head over to my previous night's work and have a quick "sunlight crit". I take my work over to a window, get a good dose of sunlight on the mini and then get mildly depressed at all the flaws that jump out at me in the bright daylight! Or, on a good day, I can smile listening to the water boil for my coffee seeing that the details and color choices made the night before hold up well in the morning.

Certain things I've noticed are that whites can look chalkier in the morning, blends might not be quite as smooth. Both of these can be helped by a bit more glazing to unify a gradient or bring more warmth into a chalky white. Sometimes certain colors don't work well - in my case faces and skin tones are a frequent offender, looking too pasty, too flushed, or too sickly in the unforgiving light of morning. However, the more I work, the better my sunlight crits get as I get a better feel for what something will look like out of the artificial light and adjust colors accordingly while painting. Still, it's a valuable step in my daily painting, giving me a "to fix" list for the next evening's painting before I move on to other parts of the mini.

For me, the next step after the sunlight crit is the camera crit. Just when you were happy with how sunlight treats your painting, now it's back to artificial light with an artificial "eye"! But that's a whole other story...