Friday, August 21, 2015


I had a good talk with Paul about finishing pictures. Some interesting things that came up;

  • A piece of work is never finished. Paul said he just gets tired of it. I like that because it gives a sense of a slowing-down, or tailing-off of interest/engagement. I like it because that feeling is something that I could become sensitive to, or alert to. I think a lot about things that get me excited and engaged. I feel like I take that seriously. I mean, just that feeling of being excited about something. Not needing or wanting to know why. But I know that that excited response to something is the most important thing, like a compass reading, and I've always looked out for it. Now I'm also going to try to be aware of an opposite diminishing of interest, because that signals something important too. That can also be a way of orientating myself.
  •  In terms of finishing a picture, that loss of engagement could just mean that the approach has gone in the wrong direction. Normally a picture starts off fluid and gradually becomes more fixed and less flexible. Sometimes it's hard to know if a picture needs to be 'messed up', taken back to that early, more flexible stage to get exciting again or if it's just that the slow disconnection that signals the end of a picture is happening. It could be that the sense of disconnection signals something going wrong, rather than the end of something. Anyway, it's something I'm going to keep in mind; that feeling of disconnecting, losing interest.
  • We also talked about how not finishing can be a protective measure. In a way, by never finishing a picture, I 'm saying, you can't criticise this (and by extension, you can't criticise me) because it's not finished. Not finishing as an act of cowardice. 
  • We also talked about what it means to not value a picture (something I do a lot), and I think that's related to that feeling of not valuing yourself. Or, avoiding having to say; For good or bad, this is me. This is my picture. In this sense, not-valuing a picture is the same as not presenting it, or hiding it, or destroying it. Which is similar to not finishing. So, we could say that part of finishing is presenting a piece, showing it. That's interesting to me. That exhibiting, having a relationship with an audience (even an audience of one, but one other), is part of the process of finishing.
  • But I like the idea that a picture is never finished. You just stop at an arbitrary point, but it could always be in flux. I guess one picture can be, usually is, many pictures. All the under paintings. Some good, some bad, some maybe better than the 'finished' picture.

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