Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Compassed Window

The Compassed Window--18 x 24

Happy Tuesday everyone! Lately, Monday has been my day to take a break from the representational painting and work on my abstracts. Really enjoyed working on this yesterday. A process I often use for this type of  painting is to do a loose, washy acrylic under painting (which in theory could stand on it's own as an abstract work) with fluid Golden acrylics using a variety of cool and warm colors.

That then helps give me a further direction to work with the "over" painting in relatively thin oils, still playing with the warm and cool balance. To me the initial acrylic layers lent themselves to the feeling of looking down on maps (grids) and through windows, thus my painting title.

Are we there yet?
Often when I paint abstractly (i.e. without a strong end goal) am often faced with the when to stop or "is this done??" question. Some artists, I think Picasso was one, assert that they are finished with a work of art when it's sold. Picasso has a good point, but before it goes out to the client we still need to set our brushes down and sign our name. Which brings me back to when is a painting finished? Understanding that the answer is personal to each artist, here are just a few quick thoughts I found regarding the  subject of painting completion:

Artist M.E. Baily says in his post: Isn’t that really the reason we paint? . . .to capture a spirit? A feeling? A mood? I suppose the painting is finished when we look at the painting and can feel that spirit.
Artist Jo-Ann Sanborn offers a more tactical approach with a checklist that includes a thoughtful review of your color, composition, and craftsmanship.
Artist Isle Hable suggests simply: A painting can be considered finished when no additional time spent working on it will improve it.

Finally, here's an interesting article by art critic James Elkins regarding famous "unfinished" paintings and the fascinating Google Art Project  which allows you to explore paintings around the world on a macro level. As always thanks for stopping by--see you in the studio!


  1. Fabulous piece of work - I love how it 'sparkles' with the highlights.

  2. Melody--Thanks so much. Your work is amazing. Gorgeous colors. Beautiful landscapes.Everyone be sure to check out Melody's work!