REVISITING AN UNRESOLVED PAINTING (PART 2)
Unfinished Painting, mixed media on canvas, 48"x 36"
"The painter makes real to others his innermost feelings about all that he cares for. A secret becomes known to everyone who views the picture through the intensity with which it is felt."
Above is a photo of the unfinished painting as it currently sits on my easel in the studio. It has been in my "Left For Dead" stack of paintings for about 10 months. It is tentatively titled "I Might Not See It Through." The original concept was that the face would be looking downward with the hair almost completely obscuring the entire face. If you saw my exhibit at SLOMA, then you know that the majority of the pieces used this visual device. This particular piece was meant to convey a person at a crossroads, a state of indecision and contemplating their next move.
Since the hair was a major visual component of the piece (almost a third of the composition), I felt as if it had to be perfect, which put a lot of pressure on me to get it "right", whatever "right" was supposed to be. Well, as you can guess, I succumbed to the pressure, screwed it up, and in my frustration, I painted out the hair. And in the "Left For Dead" stack it went.
In frustrating times like this, artists, including myself, will adopt an "all or nothing" attitude and paint over the whole painting. I, fortunately, had the presence of mind, to recognize that, even though I had messed up the hair, there were parts of the painting that I really liked. In particular, the arms and hands, and the scribble at the bottom. I am so glad that I did nor paint over these areas.
Often times, when we think we have ruined an entire painting, it is really just a small section that is not working. There may actually be areas of it that are working quite well, however, we consider the entire painting to be ruined. Watch out for this in your own work.
My goal with this series of posts is to talk you through, as well as show you, my process of trying to bring an unfinished piece back to life, in the hopes that it will empower you to do the same with some of your unfinished work. Stay tuned….