“The Witness” – how do you know when you’ve finished painting?

Once, when I had some purple paint left over, I used it up on a large canvas using a fancy shmancy stencil and very wet paint. The idea was to put down the first layer of a new background — one that I could come back to later and have a dry, colourful canvas ready to go.

It was a pretty good strategy — I mean, look at the background I created!

7 The Witness 1040

I liked this background so much I let it sit in my studio for a couple of months. Every time I walked past it would grab my eye, so I spent a fair bit of time stopping to chat with it.

“What are you going to become?” I would ask. “What are you hiding from me that will make you perfect?”

Then something happened… A first, for me.

I was spending a day in the studio with my son, who had asked me to teach him to paint. We were chatting away, listening to upbeat French café music, occasionally stopping to critique his emerging work-of-art, and philosophising.

I spent most of the morning just looking at my background, wondering what was going to call me to paint on it.

After several hours of letting my eyes roam all over the piece, sometimes focussing on an amazing swirl, sometimes panning to follow a drip, sometimes zooming out to enjoy the composition as a whole, it came to me…

Why am I seeking to change this piece when it is engaging me so much as it is?

As it is. Big clue right there, folks.

And then the dreaded question every artist asks at some point:

“How do I know when I’ve finished painting?” At what point can I consider my work, “resolved”?

At that moment, I decided that I would not lay another brush, squirt or colour on this canvas. Because I was loving looking at every piece of it, for me, it magically stopped being a background, and became a finished painting.

And so this painting is titled “The Witness”, because it bore witness to my revelation that —

You don’t need to be finished, nor perfect, to be lovable.

I turned and explained my thinking to my son. “That’s beautiful Mum,” he said, then spent a good 10 minutes looking at it properly. What he said next blew me away.

“The same could be said for people too. People don’t have to be perfect to be lovable.”

Isn’t he amazing?! Love him so much! (Even if he is “unfinished” LOL.)

And so, without further delay: my contribution to Week 8 of my Art Challenge 2015.

Shine on!
❤ Anita Revel

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PPS Wanna buy this piece? I’m sorry, this piece is nfs. On the up-side, look at what else is available

Or, get a print of one of my other works, here:

Prints, cards, clothing, homewares etc from a teensy $2.48

Behold the light!
❤ Anita Revel