Tuesday, January 10, 2006


A painting is never finished -- it simply stops in interesting places.
Paul Gardner

When I think I've finally managed to get beyond the point where the only options are to completely rework the painting or tear it off the stretcher frame (I did one of those recently and it felt so good), then the next question is when to stop. For example, I repainted the sky on this one three times. When does professionalism become anal-retentive obsession?

Then again, when does taking care of daily business become an elaborate avoidance activity just because the painting on the easel is in serious trouble? I hate ironing and I tackled a whole basketful last night. The painting on the easel isn't out of the woods yet, but we have a closetful of crisply-pressed shirts now. (And I've made three blog entries in two days...)


Blogger Caroline said...

Have you ever tried keeping all the canvases for a show on a go at the same time - that way you'd just move on to the next one each time you wanted a change....

I've never tried it but then I've never resorted to ironing either!

10/1/06 11:56 a.m.  
Blogger Brian the Mennonite said...

A trusted friend of mine recently gave me some advice when I was tackling similar avoidance angst. He said "Before enlightenment, chop wood. After enlightenment, chop wood."
He's an undercover RCMP...I think he had been drinking all day.

10/1/06 2:00 p.m.  
Blogger ValGalArt said...

geez, are you reading my mind? i was looking at some clothes avoiding my worktable and i thought "i hate ironing" but it actually looked tempting! Do hope you feel satisfied now with this painting! The trees and leaves on the ground are perfection!!!

10/1/06 2:16 p.m.  
Blogger Aaron Paquette said...

However you are coping, I must say this piece is wonderful.

10/1/06 3:29 p.m.  
Blogger Toni said...

One of the things i do when a painting isn't working out is to walk away and say to the universe I need guidance
and tell me what to do. Then put it out of my mind and do something else. (Ironing is good) ;)
The important thing is to relax and let it come to you. It will and always will. Get that knowing feeling inside you.

Your work is wonderful, everything will be fine.

10/1/06 3:59 p.m.  
Blogger andrea said...

Caroline: Ironing is definitely a last resort! :) I have worked on two paintings of entirely different styles/subject matter at the same time, alternating back and forth, and that really was great. Right now I'm having trouble finding subject matter for one painting at a time, let alone a whole series.

Brian: Yet there's something very zen about his words...

Val: Yes, I finally decided after looking at it for two days that I'd be stupid to put more time into it. (And leave that ironing alone!)

Aaron: What do you do, or does inspiration happen more easily for you?

Toni: My problem is my obsessive way of working. Walking away is good -- if you can make yourself do it -- but coming back is even harder. (Did that just sound like an old Phil Collins song?) I never was any good at transitions.

10/1/06 5:00 p.m.  
Blogger Brian the Mennonite said...

Sometimes all it takes is a drink to become a little more free to be in tune with what is Zen.

10/1/06 9:06 p.m.  
Blogger Alina Chau said...

this is a lovely piece, prehaps one of my faovrite of your works!!

10/1/06 11:42 p.m.  
Blogger Caroline said...

I agree with Brian but make it water!

Dehydration can really block the flow.

11/1/06 10:58 a.m.  
Blogger cream said...

Lovely painting! I'd love to tackle one like this one day!

11/1/06 3:12 p.m.  
Blogger Mick said...

Did you try taking the painting outside? Hold it up in the air and compare it to the real sky. Not out of the woods yet (LMAO btw)? Then there's still time for a lot more ironing and blogging! :D

12/1/06 5:56 a.m.  
Blogger Calvin said...

Another great one. Very cool.

12/1/06 8:03 p.m.  
Blogger Aaron Paquette said...

For inspiration?

Well, sometimes nothing will make it happen. You know, when you're dried up and feel like you're going through the motions? That's when I put it all away. I do nothing art related for days on end. I read, I go for walks, I watch movies, I play sports, go running, sit quietly.

After a few days of this, I look at everyone else's art on the planet.

Then I still do nothing. About three to five days of this and suddenly I have ideas coming out of nowhere. They may have been germinating and the seed of a thought has been growing...so by leaving the field 'fallow', so to speak, the idea bears fruit at last.

Even simpler, I try to work with a hangover. That usually leads me to find ways to simplify...


14/1/06 7:09 p.m.  
Blogger Blue Fairy said...

This painting looks great. Put it down. Unless you have more shirts to press, then i can understand keeping it on the easel a little longer...

17/1/06 11:42 a.m.  

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