Calling It Done

I posted an earlier version of this painting — Cherry Blossom Spring — in September. Since then it’s been sitting on my shelf in limbo mode, that indefinite place where I look at it, think about, maybe talk to it a bit now and then, and decide exactly what more the painting needs.

With this painting, I decided the answer was “Not much.” At least, not much more for right now. I took it down from the shelf this morning and put it on the easel, having recently finished up a wintry snowscape. It happens to be snowing here right now. It’s coming down and will most likely keep falling under we have about 2 inches on the ground. I’m hoping my husband is able to take off work a bit early so that he won’t have to drive on icy, snowy roads. Of course, around here 2 inches of snow isn’t all that much. Still, it’s much nicer to sit inside by the fireplace than to be out and about today.

But having finished the snowscape I’ve been working on, I was quite happy to turn to my lovely springtime palette. I added a bit of light in places, fiddled a bit here and there, and for now, I’m calling it done.

Cherry Blossom Spring (2)

Cherry Blossom Spring 11 x 14 Oil on Canvas Panel

Maybe later I’ll go back and add a bit of color to the trees on the right, putting in more light and shadow in their leaves. Or maybe not.

In some ways, perhaps this painting looks unfinished, and maybe it is. But I like the painting. I love the springtime colors. I like the lights and shadows on the trees. I like the rhythm of the painting, the way the pink colors cascade downward. Maybe that’s not a good thing. I suppose it could be argued that it leads the eye right out of the painting. I still like the painting. I don’t think I want to change it.

It feels good to say that. I know it’s not good to get “too precious” with our art, or to become too resistant about making necessary changes. At the same time I like feeling that as the artist, I’m the one who should decide if and when a painting is finished, or if and when — and how — it might need to be changed. I don’t have to make all those decisions today. My “Cherry Blossom Spring” can go back on the shelf. For now, yes, I’m calling this one “done”.

18 Comments

  1. All the conventional lessons in the world can only advise. You are the artist, and ONLY YOU can decide when a painting is done! You are the artist…you are the artist…you are the artist!!!!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. You have every right to decide whatever you want with your works. There is a perspective you may want to consider however:

    Your overall ability will increase proportionate to your time spent experimenting and practicing. This would suggest that there will always be a time when touching up an existing work is of less value than creating a whole new piece that displays your “latest” ability level.

    Putting that another way, it can be very rewarding to take an earlier work, and totally create it again. Hopefully you will see details/nuances that are a direct result of your greater experience.

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    1. Yep, exactly. As the artist, I make the decisions. Some will be good, some might not be, but creating art is an on-going process of discovery. We learn from each drawing or painting we make.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I don’t do a lot of “fixing” to paintings. I think it’s better to take what I’ve learned and move forward. If there’s a small little change that will help a painting, I might do that, but nothing major!

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  3. One of the hardest things I have learned since starting to do art is knowing when to stop. I set it aside, look at it again, and now can say with confidence, “nope, that is done.” The authority to do so feels very good. And it is nice to have power over SOMETHING, after all. Also, your painting is lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello! Judith, I want you to know that your blog and art is so refreshing and welcoming. May I have your permission to use your art on my blog writing? Of course, I will give you proper credit for your inspiring talent to my posts. Thank you for brightening my mind today, sincerely, your scribeforlove.

    Liked by 1 person

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