When is creative work finished? It’s a question that is almost as frustrating as asking what the meaning of life is!
In an attempt to figure it out, we’ll follow five stages of “Vestige” as it goes from the “oh my goodness” stage to “ok, I see what’s needed” and on to completion
There are some creative pursuits where you know the finish point when you begin. They generally don’t tend to allow for much initiative or alteration along the way. Things like knitting to a pattern or building a house for instance. The creativity tends to happen prior to beginning the actual work. Thus, once you begin creating the “creation” you have a plan showing exactly where you need to head in order for your project to end successfully. Art, as in fine art, is not always like that.
As you can see there definitely wasn’t a plan for “Vestige”! Drastic measures were necessary after the above bout of intuitive play!
In the past my art was always planned, as mentioned previously, but now it is freer, led by what happens from minute to minute. It’s a great way to work. There’s more freedom, experimentation, questioning, playing and dreaming. However, it does mean that the “finished” stage can either jump out at you unexpectedly or, on the other hand, remain so elusive as to almost drive you mad!
Some artists, myself included, will often say that their art is telling them what it wants. What this really means is that we can either see what is needed, or we can’t. In which case the work gets done or we wait for “something” to occur to us. Often, the wait is long and tedious, as it was with “Vestige”! If you look closely around the upper left central area of the above photo you will see a small patch of light green. That patch could have inadvertently been covered in the painting frenzy but it remained visible to “tell me something”. You can see what I did with the idea in the finished painting below.
Since starting to work this way it has been difficult to accept that one piece in a series might be finished very quickly while another will test my patience severely, like “Vestige” did.
This piece “Hushed” is a collage on canvas and was finished right after the first piece of paper went on. (A large piece of tissue that I had prepared as part of a collage paper making session.) I stood there unsure, thinking it looked done, but I hadn’t done enough work, had I? It shouldn’t feel finished yet, should it?
It’s sister piece (above) which you’ve seen before remained “unfinished”. It didn’t feel done and sat around taunting me for a few weeks. How could I make it feel “finished”?
I didn’t want to overwork it but at the same time it felt like something was needed. Should it be left aside for later review or succumb to the changes that were lurking in my mind. The fact that the changes didn’t feel “solid” made me hesitate. I wasn’t even sure which way was up!
Eventually, a decision was made to add some collage to the sides of the canvas and reassess things after that. It didn’t alter the face of the canvas, but the sides now look finished!
There’s still uncertainty over this one. Maybe it might tell me it’s title and all will come together and make sense!
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