Thursday, February 11, 2010

Is It Finished?!

   yellow bird 8 x 10"

I decided to paint from a photo I had taken of birds on the shore. I thought it's complex composition would be fun to try and simplify into a contemporary oil painting.  I started by painting the outline shapes of about nine of them, paint-sketching directly on the canvas with indigo. When that was done I thought one bird really stood out for me and I decided to paint over all the others. I loved the raw, drafty feeling of this bird and the yellows were working so I walked away from the above painting for a few days.

When I came back I thought about what I'd been learning, about the importance of a paintings "history" and decided to work on it some more. I gave the lower brush more detail and color and put blue up in the sky. I left the bird for last and decided to leave it white and then added a few highlights. While I liked the overall painting better than the yellow I put it behind a frame and hung it on the wall so I could look at if for a few days and decide if it needed more work. Here it is below.

So which do you like better? Is it finished? How do you know when it is?

I brought both of these photos into my class to show my instructor and get his input on next steps and ask his opinion on if this was finished and how you know when you're which he said, "You just know." Sigh. More learning that takes patience and time until you can truly trust your gut instincts as well as know how to complete a piece and what it needs between the middle and end. But first, you just gotta start, right? Java!

P.S. Oh! And what did he say about the above paintings? He loved the first, yellow one. Said it takes courage to leave it showing the back painting and keeping it white like that. He thought it was much more interesting than the second. Oops! 

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