I work standing up as I find it not only energising but better for my back health and fluidity. However, it cannot be overstated how valuable it is to sit way, way back from a work and just look at it for some time. One of my teachers used to say step back at least every 15 minutes when painting. It is really difficult sometimes to stop and do that when you are in the flow or wrestling a picture to the ground, but as your focus reorients to the whole, you see what you cannot see when you are up close and buried in a work.

When I take a break in the studio I either sit in silence or put on music and take a good 20 minutes to look at work that is on the go. There’s a lot to be said for day dreaming or musing on things and many leading edge thinkers agree that relaxed and clear focus is the doorway to flow and the wellspring of creativity and it certainly works for me. At any rate when you look at things without any real agenda but to simply observe, you do notice things that need attention or are not harmonious to the whole. Even look at your painiting in reverse, in a mirror. Especially if a picture is ‘not working’ you will notice striking oddities or imbalances. Better yet, take work home so it catches you off-guard every now and then. It will reveal much when it catches your gaze. As someone wiser than me once said, it takes time to make a good picture, so get a comfortable chair, a lovely big cup of tea and most of all get a sense of perspective...

The Total Perspective Vortex
‘The Total Perspecitve Vortex derives its picture of the whole Universe on the principle of extrapolated matter analyses. To explain - since every piece of matter in the Universe is in some way affected by every other piece of matter in the Universe, it is in theory possible to extrapolate the whole of creation; every sun, every planet, their orbits, their composition and their economic and social history from, say, one small piece of fairy cake. The man who invented the Total Perspective Vortex did so basically to annoy his wife. Trin Tragula, for that was his name. was a dreamer, a thinker, a speculative philosopher or, as his wife would have it, an idiot. And she would nag him incessantly about the utterly inordinate amount of time he spent staring out into space, or mulling over the mechanics of safety pins, or doing spectrographic amalyses of pieces of fairy cake. "Have some sense of proportion!" she would say, sometimes as often as 38 times in a single day.

And so Trin Tragula built the Total Perspective Vortex, just to show her, and in one end he plugged he whole of reality as extrapolated from a single piece of fairy cake, and into the other end he plugged his wife: so that when he turned it on she saw in one instant the whole infinity of creation and herself in relation to it. To Trin Tragula's horror, the shock completely annihilated her brain; but to his satisfaction he realised that he had proved conclusively that if life is going to exist in a Universe of this size then the one thing it cannot afford to have is a sense of proportion.’ 

- The Hitchikers Guide To The Galaxy

Paris from space