Almost exactly a year ago I wrote a post about the tricky business of knowing when a painting is finished. It was inspired by the quote, ‘A painting is never finished – it simply stops in interesting places‘ by Paul Gardner. Although I love the quote and it is, in my experience, inspiringly accurate, I rather balk at the word ‘simply’. For it is anything but simple to know when a painting is at ‘an interesting place’, this being, for me, the point where it meets my intention and vision.
This is, of course, the art in any art form. When is it finished? When does it say what you intend? When does it meet all your artistic demands? When is it ready to go out into the world independently conveying your message?
This is how the painting in question looked a year ago:
Little did I know it was going to take me a year to complete. Some paintings take a matter of days. It is a curious thing. With this one it was the problem of visually connecting the sea portion of the painting with the fabulous patterns created by the variegated leaf. (Variegated leaf is imitation leaf which has been heated to create the patterning.) It wasn’t until after I had finished a few other leaf and sea paintings, that I saw a way to do it.
And this is it, finished, or should I say, stopped at a place I consider to be interesting.
I now cannot stop painting leaf and sea paintings. They bring me such joy. Here are some others:
Oh, this artist life, this demanding, mercurial, mysterious, siren-like artist life. I know why I do it, why I submit to its mystery. Because it allows me to swim in colour, to escape into colour, to live in colour and sometimes it is the only place that makes sense.
So, tell me, my inspirational artist compadres. Why do you do it?