The difference between the way a painting looks at arm's length (the way it's made) and from across the room (the way it is often viewed) can be truly mysterious and sometimes astonishing, even to the painter.
When I stand back to look, I'm often looking for nebulous qualities. Things like "Does the painting hold up?" or "Is that detail lost?" become just as important as judgements about color, shape, composition, emphasis, and whether or not I've successfully conveyed what I set out to convey.
The recent paintings below are deliberately shown small here to give you some idea what they look like from across the room. They're all less than 9" x 12". But if you click, you'll get a better sense of how they look to me when I'm painting...
The bottom one is a first sketch attempt at depicting a complicated and colorful scen along the Charles River in Newton, Massachusetts. Lilypads, turning leaves, reflections, forest shadows... these are all significant challenges for me and up close I didn't think I was getting them down in a coherant way. But from across the room something magical happens - I had caught more than I thought!