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  • Writer's pictureLucy

Is It Finished Yet?

One question artists get asked a lot is, "How do you know when a piece is finished?"

The short answer is when the artist says it is.

The longer answer is probably different for each artist. One artist I know says it's a feeling.

For me the answer is two folded, a piece is finished when:

(a) it looks as much as possible like the person / item I'm observing


(b) when I feel proud to show it to others.

Believe me that somedays I get impatient want to race to the finish line just like the hare in that famous fable. I just want to stop painting and call a piece "FINISHED".

But I can't! Not until it is as similar to the real thing as I can make it.

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (aka Rembrandt) has a famous saying, "Choose only one master, nature." That is what I strive to do. My motivation in my art is to be truthful to what nature reveals.

If that means that a white rose petal is semi-transparent and therefore actually the color of what is behind it, well then, that is what I paint.

If that means that a person's neck reflects light from an object in the room--but which is outside of the composition--well, I still paint the reflection.

It takes concentrated focus and a willingness to let go of what I want to see so that I can see what is actually there. For me, this process of seeing truthfully takes a time. A lot of time. Certainly more time than I want it to take!

I'm sure Rembrandt, who started drawing and painting nature around the age of 13, worked much faster. Maybe someday I will too, but for now I am the tortoise in the race--slow and steady.

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