Patti Edmon Altered Attic: September 2016

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

When is a Painting Finished?

I recently figured out that if I don't like a painting maybe it's just not finished! Brilliant observation after several years, but it made me wonder if other artists have consciously come to know that or if it's embarrassingly obvious...

The one constant in every piece of art I've created is layers. I love layers. I live to layer. So, it would seem that I would have already come to this conclusion. But I've spent considerable amounts of time working on a piece only to file it with the other shunned canvases. 

I don't know about y'all (ok, I grew up in Upstate New York but I've lived in Kentucky for a hundred years), but does this ring a bell? I mentioned it while in workshop with the fabulous and talented Wan Marsh (at Random Arts in late August) and she looked at me like I'd just informed her that the world is round. 
So, whether or not it's a no-brainer that fact changes the entire process, makes each step less 'brain surgery' and way more rewarding. It also tells that monkey in the mind to shut the hell up and let the process happen. 
I was so grateful I decided to share the 'history' of one of my favorite paintings. 

OK, not a bad start, I see potential...

Um... going anywhere? Like maybe to a better place?

Oh darn, this is looking busy and well, just crappy in general.

Started calming it down and looked for cohesion (any!) Knew it was time to paint over areas I liked but that just didn't work. And once I made peace (ok, let go of control!), I used my hand to cover elements and figure out which parts needed to go, and it wasn't long before the piece was finished. And I love it! 

I keep learning, processing, painting and living with thanks that so many lessons and insights present themselves - better late than never haha. Wan also had sage words about finishing "How do you know it's finished? When you start messing it up!" Brilliant!
I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject! 


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