Tuesday, 22 January 2013

A painting is never finished, it simply stops at a dramatic moment

So it's true what they say...

A painting really is never finished. You could keep working and keep working.  But at some point you need to stop, so choose that dramatic moment. 

Think about your own paintings.  That dramatic moment arrives and it takes your breath away.  Then...

look at that messy corner, what about that stroke that is uneven, that colour looks too something, it's only me who sees it, I need to explain more so people can understand.  So you work through that dramatic moment and end up with a slightly muddy, boring piece of work.  Why didn't you just stop?

Too afraid of the secrets that Moment reveals?

Then you have a painting that the family politely say is nice, that you can't give away because everybody already has more than enough of this safe work of yours hanging politely on their walls.  So leave it, like I did...

...in a box, for two years, forgotten.  Then in a search for canvas I can reclaim I came across a whole box of paintings, still packed from when we moved.  And this little painting that I could immediately diagnose:  Too many things fighting for attention, leaving the mountain in the background forgotten.  I happily decide to paint over it.

My plan?  Mix a cool green (Prussion blue and Cad' yellow, it will start as a warm brown but then, as you add more blue, tip into a cool green).  Then mix Titanium white for three tones only (remembering that your darkest tone has no white in it).  Then THE SUBJECT.  A painting I wanted to paint as a child but could never get right:  A path that lead away to somewhere wonderful.  And the attitude "this is a yellow brick in my path to learning". 

Then something out of my control happened.  The previous painting found it's dramatic moment, and I got my path to somewhere wonderful.


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