19/05/2015: To stop or to continue, that is the question!


Some work-in-progress


I wanted to write a blog on something I think every artist is struggling with, and if I can only speak for myself, to me it is a constant struggle: when to stop working on an artwork? There is a thin line in the process of making art that get's easily crossed, there is a big chance you kill the artwork when you cross that line. Feeling (or knowing) when to stop is crucial.

I think an artwork should look great in every stage, it should keep some transparency, vibrance, spontaneity and a lot of freshness. I think the artist Rik Wauters found that balance very well, he didn't paint every inch of his canvas, he left parts empty and let the canvas play it's part. His painting have an "unfinished business" feeling, but it works for him.

Finding that balance is hard. When you don't stop in time, you can lose the freshness and the vibrance very quickly.


The watching game

I stop as soon as I can to start the watching game. I can stare for days at one artwork, scanning the different parts, balancing the whole. One question is in my mind: how can I make it better? Sometimes a line is added or a colour is painted over. Meanwhile I keep staring and asking myself how I can improve.


The finishing game

The decision to stop is hard, it's a constant battle between being content and searching for improvement. Finishing is like "letting go".


The not-killing-it game

In general, like the artworks from Rik Wauters I have referred to earlier, I prefer the "unfinished business" feeling if it is balanced. Better to stop early on than to kill it. When it's killed, CPR has no answer, it is what it is. Overpaint with a fresh white coat en start over.