Most paintings are finished before the artist thinks it is. Knowing when to quit is a skill that even an experienced painter can have doubts about. The skill lies in knowing that not another stroke added to the painting will enhance it. As the painting nears completion, stress increases and a constant evaluation goes on ‘Is the stroke I’m about to add going to advance the painting or is it redundant, repetitive, or even moving away from completion’. I usually have to put it away for a few days or more, and then come back and view it more objectively. It invariably is more finished than I thought. This separating oneself from the emotional investment in the work can help prevent overworking it. The danger is that one can be so concerned with what others may think, that the painting is worked and reworked into ”acceptable” shape before it goes out into the world and all manifestations of individuality are edited away. As an artist becomes more proficient, a healthy bravado evolves that says, “Here I am. Take it or leave it,” and these touches of personality are what makes the work unique and special. However this takes a lot of confidence, knowledge and experience and even the best struggle with doubts. Degas himself, was known to sneak into clients houses and to take back his sold paintings so he could continue working on them. People actually chained them to the walls to prevent him. You certainly don’t get much better than Degas.
11/15/2013 08:38:31 pm
Incisive observation, right on the mark!
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Gisela Beckius An Estonian born artist living in Stockholm Sweden.