Is It Finished?
Is it finished? Is a question that is so often asked by aspiring artists? The painter wishes to know should they stop. Keep painting? Or chuck it in the bin and give up altogether?
Painters find it can be really hard to tell if painting is finished or not. Would another few brush marks help or overcomplicate the picture? I'm not really sure that there are any fail safe rules that you can follow. However the best advice I can give you is something that I have tried and tested. What it all really boils down to is living with your picture. What I mean by this is putting it up on a wall; propping it up on a book shelf and literally living with it. Each time you pass it take a glance at it. Soak it in; really understand the painting you have created. By doing this you are training your eye to consider is it finished and if you have achieved all you wanted to.
In the following sections of pictures and writing I will try and explain what I mean from a real example. Firstly I want you to carefully look at the image below.Is it finished? To paint this picture I was working from a photograph I had taken whilst holidaying in Sardinia. We had driven past this view several times and I loved the layers of trees as they hugged the hillside. Understandably being in Sardinia and especially being there in August meant that the sunlight was very strong and I loved the dense shadows the trees cast on the foliage underneath.
I do not like to be beaten by anything, so probably well over a year after I painted this picture I opened up the frame took the painting out of the mount and started working on it again. However I would like to add that I looked and looked at it ages before deciding what to do. In many ways I did still like it and didn't want to ruin it ever. Basically what I decided I needed to do was create more interesting patterns and shadows across the whole painting and knock the sky back by changing the tone of it.
Quite a lot of my paintings experimental so I simply propped this painting up sprayed it liberally with water I added lots of orange, blue and fuchsia acrylic inks and re-sprayed them. The beautiful inks began to run and deepen the quality of the original painting. This is an exciting but slightly risky way of working as there is a crucial moment when you need to lay your painting flat or all the colour will run straight off it. I also felt there needed to me more shadow at the bottom of the tree shapes; suggesting that the foliage closest the earth was darker than the foliage at the top of the trees where the sun would be hitting it the most. To achieve this I added dark coloured inks of blue and orange whilst the painting was still wet, this meant that the colours would run and create soft edges which are what I was trying to achieve. Finally once the painting was dry I repainted much of the sky in a cooler tone.
Below is a photograph of my finished image. Is it finished? My answer is now definitely yes it is a painting I am really pleased with and I am really excited to be able to say it is re-mounted and framed and now hanging in a gallery and hopefully soon will be bought and bring much pleasure to its new owners.