Tools of the trade: Using a smartphone to record progress

Botanical painting of red Indian corn, work in progress. Snapping a photo of daily progress in the studio helps with motivation.

A snapshot a day keeps discouragement away when working on big projects.

Painting a botanical art plant portrait is a slow and laborious process. Details build up slowly, almost invisibly. It’s easy to lose motivation when it seems like nothing is happening on the paper and there’s still so much more left to paint.

To combat discouragement, I like to take a quick snappy on my iPhone of my current project at the end of each work session or day. This gives me concrete evidence that I’m making progress and motivates me to get back to the drawing table the next morning.

Using a camera to record work in progress is a time-honored habit among artists. Hilary Spurling has described how Matisse would photograph his day’s work on his late Blue Nude painting before his assistant would wipe the canvas clean for the great artist to start fresh the next morning. Picasso took snapshots of Les Demoiselles d’Avignon as he worked on what was to become the world’s first Cubist painting.

Do you take snapshots of your work in progress? What mental tricks do you use to keep yourself motivated while you work on a major project with lots of details?

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2 thoughts on “Tools of the trade: Using a smartphone to record progress

    • Hi Sharon,
      I’m sorry to say I haven’t seen Tim’s Vermeer yet. So many people have recommended it.
      It’s on my rental list, now I just need to make time to sit down and watch it! 🙂

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