Monday, March 1, 2010

Sonoita Revisited

Sonoita, Arizona
Top painting, 12x36. Bottom painting, 12x48

Here is another in my series of questions about when a piece is finished.

The top painting, I made en plein air, in Sonoita, Arizona, in April. It had been a grand painting day, and this was my fifth piece.

But it was a hot day, too, and windy, and the wind was picking up as the afternoon wore into evening, and I was weary, physically, mentally, artistically. So I this painting reached a point where I liked it, I stopped, happy, sunburned, exhausted.

When I got the painting home, I realized that I liked it as it was - except for the vertical line on the left side of the canvas, where another painting had smudged it. Also, I didn't like the one swipe of blue in the left-hand side of the sky.

But for those problems - which I can, and could, fix - I have always loved this painting as it is, with no more paint on the canvas.

This is the painting, in fact, that first nudged me into wondering just when a painting is finished. There is a quality to this clearly unfinished piece that I find intriguing - even exciting.

I have been looking at it, up here in my studio, for weeks now. And yesterday, I decided to have another go at it, on a larger canvas.

I painted the mountains, and pathways through the grasslands - and when I stopped to look, I realized that, once again, I was taken with this piece as it is.

So what do you think? Does your eye want blue sky and rolling golden hills? Or does your eye like it as it is? Or is there somewhere in between?

Thanks in advance for thinking about this and letting me know. I'll post your answers!

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