Here’s a simple tip that can greatly improve your art. When trying to assess a photo reference or your painting to see if the large shapes within the composition are pleasing, squint. If your eyes are only open a tiny slit, it will eliminate a lot of detail and allow you to see the main shapes. It is also an effective way to analyse the dark and light pathways of your image. Moving far away from the painting can have a similar effect, but squinting is very useful, and faster. Try it with the painting shown here – a detail from one of my oil paintings. Can you see how it makes it easier to identify light, medium and dark areas and how they relate to each other?