Deciding to stop is something new to me in painting. It seems to distinguish oil painting from watercolours. Watercolours are something of an adrenaline rush. They are swift, unwieldy, reckless and spontaneous. There is no going back, no correction, few ways to change course and there always seems to be an obvious end….a point in a picture, where it would be foolish to continue. A saturation point where I know the paper simply can’t take another layer of water and pigment. In watercolour….it is a sudden stop.
Now on my oil painting journey I finally understand the intense inquiry about the need for it to end, pulling against the possibility of just one more glaze here and there, a touch more highlight, a minor change of hue. Oil painting affords ME the luxury of deciding when to stop. I’m not sure it’s a privilege I wanted. It is the ability to work and re-work that makes oil paint so appealing….but also so maddening. So the decision to stop is an intellectual one.
This time it’s the end of a learning road for me. I’ve learnt as much as I can from this painting. It has made me thirsty for more. I have drunk as much from this canvas as I can. This is part of the problem for the thirsty artist (no…not the bill for all the bottles of sav blanc….that’s another issue) – as soon as a painting is done I know I could do it better if I started again. The process teaches me so much about the subject, the medium….that I can’t help casting this painting aside to collect dust as I move onto the next (better) project. I really don’t care about the painting that is done….it is the 2 new paintings in progress on my easel that have my attention now.
And so the journey of the thirsty artist continues. This first ‘finished’ canvas is posted here for others who have followed this road. Perhaps here it will not collect as much dust.