How Do You Know?
I was just asked this question again today, and it's a typical question most artists field whenever someone is viewing their art.... especially abstract art. How do you know when you're finished? It really is a great question, but not one that's easy to answer.
My paintings usually start with inspiration from a color palette or an emotion from a memory for example. In my head I revisit places I've been and recreate them on canvas as my mind sees them. Okay, are you still with me friends? It's difficult to verbalize how I paint. I primarily use my hands and just allow the paint to move around the canvas freely until forms or patterns emerge. Nothing is intentional, purely intuitive.
This is my latest painting titled "Song of the Water". My husband and I are planning a trip back to Santa Fe next month and I've been thinking of all the places we've previously visited on past trips and remembered a particular beautiful waterfall. That memory inspired this painting.
Day 1 was just about applying the initial layers of paint by hand and blending them to form the base of my painting. As I blend you can see the texture of the molding paste first layer pop out to form lines and ridges.
Day 2 was all about the layering of additional colors. In the zone and singing to the music in my studio I instinctively add colors that speak to me and apply them either with my fingers or with a palette knife. At the end of this session I'm happy with the results and start to wonder, AM I FINISHED?
But wait, what I didn't take a picture of is the always awkward "middle stage" where you look at the piece on your easel and think "THIS IS CRAP". After pushing through that stage you find what you're looking for. That, after all your efforts, it did result in a painting that reflects your emotions.
After reaching my ending point for the second day and still undecided on whether to stop or continue on this piece I decided to sleep on it and look at it again with fresh eyes in the morning. Stepping away from a painting is so important to give you new perspective.
The final day after reviewing where I'd stopped I knew this piece needed MORE. So of course I added more with some gold, a little turquoise and red. Somewhere I've read that every painting should include a bit of red. Well, it worked for this one.
So, how do you know when you're finished with a painting? For me it is when I thoughtfully review my work and determine that nothing else I could add would improve it. If you don't listen to that little voice in your head you could easily wreck a beautiful painting.
Thank you for taking the time to follow my journey friends. I can't tell you what your support means to me. Feel free to comment on this post or send me a message anytime. I always love hearing from you.
Until next time, take care and blessings from your artist friend, Mary