|Work in Progress - oil on panel - 12 x 16"|
It's kind of an age-old question for artists.
For me it's a gut feeling. Basically, if the painting is saying what I want it to say, I feel it's done. BUT there are times I might start a painting without a clear idea of what it is I want to say. I'm can be delighted about the sheer joy of my subject or process and I get swept up in the moment, forgetting about focusing on the idea.
|stage 1 stage 2 stage 3|
When I began this painting I was at my friend Sherry's house, she had invited me for a paint-day get together, something we've been occasionally doing over the past few years. It is such a fun time. We paint, do coffee while painting, do lunch, chat, paint some more and our cup runneth over with good times. It's no wonder then that I began the painting in a joyful mood, and didn't bother to focus much. ha ha. who cares. some things are more important! It's funny I remember looking at it that day and commenting to Sherry..."What's with this effort...it looks like I painted it in grade 4!" ha ha ha. I took my little painting home and set it on the shelf in my studio. I knew it wasn't done, but I didn't know what to do with it...I liked the freshness and simplicity, but it wasn't conveying anything, and I wanted it to. stage 1.
Two weeks later I woke up and the first thing I thought about was putting a bicycle in that painting, and I was excited; for me, excitement is a good sign! I decided do something about it. After all, as it was, the painting wasn't satisfying to me. I knew I would have to do major surgery. BUT, I had a PLAN! and hope. The oil medium is so wonderful for allowing changes of heart and direction. I could never have done that with watercolours, and I know I'd struggle trying to do it with acrylics. When I went to bed that night I had stage 2.
Stage 3 was resolved last night. I painted out some of the tulips, created more space around the bike(never underestimate the element of space). I simplified the background tulips so they became a unified shape. I also really paid attention to the edges of the tree shapes.
So that's how I got from here in stage 1 to there in stage 3. I will let it percolate for a while longer (while I work on another painting) and in a few days I hope to hear it speaking to me.