Thursday, May 14, 2009

When is a painting finished?

This is a question much weightier artists have addressed over and over in books or on the internet. I don't have the answer except to say---it depends---on the artist. When a painting is leaving the ugly adolescent realm and starting to be it's own special piece is when I turn to some tricks or tests. 

The two 12x24 pieces I posted here are approaching this stage of development. 
These two paintings are on at least their fourth go round with me. If they don't come into their own soon they will be the first canvases I've destroyed which gives me a lot of freedom really. I'm working with lots of alcohol now and digging into very old layers.

Tips on finishing:
1. Look at the painting in all four directions rotating it and squinting or take your glasses off.
2. Check out light and dark using a piece of red plexiglass.
3. Do you have different sizes of general shapes?
4. Do you have or want a center of interest?
5. Do you need neutrals to rest the eye? I have a hard time using neutrals at all!
6. If on paper using mat board "Ls" is helpful. Wish I could crop canvases sometimes.
7. Simplify. Major problem for me.
8. Put in a darker room and see it out of the corner of the eye. You'll see things you didn't see before. What about working in the dark?
9. Check it out in a mirror.
10. Take a photo and see it on the computer in color, black and white and sepia. Make larger or smaller. Try way smaller too.
11. Wait a few days and look again. Or a few months!

If I think of other things that have helped me in the past I'll post them later. I'll be gone for a few days.

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