Last fall, my husband, my parents and I went on a drive through the rocky mountains that we live next to. I took a photo of one of the mountain views I really loved and told myself, "I can paint that!" It took me a while to get there but I think I like where this painting ended up. (BTW that is as close as I can get to saying "I love this piece!") I could obviously keep working it, but I think I reached the stage where working it could mess it up.
The mountains were based very closely on the photo I took while the trees in the midground and foreground I just made up from how that whole day felt as we drove through miles and miles of golden aspens and dark green ever greens.
Of course, now that I look at it. I see several spots I could and maybe will touch up.
This is the artists curse. The truth is, no art piece is ever finished. You can always keep working it. Should you? Probably not. But you could. It is hard to know where the line is between it needs more work and more work will make it worse. Every artist has to walk that fine line and tread carefully.
I like to look at my palette after I am done with a painting session. It is fun to trace the color mixing journey. I still love the fact that blobs of color on a palette can become a complex image with shapes, values and emotions. Total magic.
I have multiple other paintings that are feeling closer to being done. When they feel complete, I will post them.
The creative process is a highly intuitive process. Yes, there are facts one can know about color, shape, lighting, value, texture, line, etc.... but in the end, every artist has to work with their gut feeling. Does the piece feel like it is going in the right direction? Does the piece communicate the feeling you are trying to express? Does the piece feel complete? Since the world of visual arts is a world of non verbal communication, it makes sense that the creator and the creation communicate via feelings and senses.
Whenever something in my work doesn't feel right but I can't put my finger on it exactly, I put it to the side and look at it occasionally until it communicates to me the direction that it needs to go. How do I know that the piece has spoken? I feel it. I can feel what needs to happen. Just like when you watch a movie and you can feel what will happen next or you can feel how the movie will end. I can feel what needs to happen next in my art work.
I hope you take time to create something today! And if you get frustrated with a piece, just set it aside and see if you can feel what needs to happen when you look at it throughout the week.
- Holly Manohar