Moor to Sea Arts

Rob's Blog

When is it Finished?


It doesn’t always go to plan...

Took the opportunity to paint en plein air last week. Working in oils perched precariously on roadside bank. In the space of about an hour, sun, shower, rain, sleet, snow and finally a gale from nowhere blew my easel over causing me to loose a brush and getting snagged by brambles trying to reach it. I know one is meant to suffer for ones art, but seriously...If I finish it I’ll post.

I posted this last week on Facebook and got quite a response, most smiled at my troubles but one or two felt that the painting needed no further work and was complete as it was. It raised the age old debate amongst painters when is a painting finished? I know when I’ve ‘over finished’ a painting, normally within a few moments and a couple of brushstrokes of doing it. But the moment  of ‘finishing’ is a far more elusive state to be certain of. One habit that I’ve developed is by restricting the number of brush marks that I add as I get nearer towards what I perceive as the end stage of the painting in an attempt not to overwork it. By applying five brush strokes, then a period of contemplation, a further three strokes with more reflection and finally one last brush stroke causes me to pause and reflect upon the final stage of the painting making certain that every stroke ‘adds’ to the painting and doesn’t tip the painting into the overworked category.