When is a Painting Finished?

“Park Guell”
watercolor 24 x 18 inches
When is a painting finished? The famous question for which there must be many, many answers has been asked by tens of thousands of painting students. If you begin a painting 8 years ago, stop and put it away, take it out this month and add the touches it needed badly . . . . is it considered a painting done recently? Or should it be considered a painting done 8 years ago?

I sure don’t have the answers to that question . . .or the one before that. I find that the more experienced I become (read as ‘older’) I can see many more ‘needs’ that an unfinished painting has. Perhaps it all has to do with the spirit of what you are trying to communicate. In this piece, it was the ‘jazz’ of the shapes and the location of Park Guell in Barcelona. I painted much of this painting with my great friend Montserrat at my side. . . .both of us talking, visitors coming by and making comments . . .great friendship in a great place busy at work with making art. Mind you, I said making art . . . .not copying what we saw. We were finding ways to make shapes fit together in interesting ways and to subdue and emphasize different things. Add patterns and textures where they weren’t in order to create interesting and compelling relationships among the parts of the painting.

I really did just finish this painting but a few weeks ago. And it really was in my flat file for nearly 8 years. It had been waiting for me to grow enough to see what needed to be done in order to make a successful painting. Because of the time spent with Montserrat (Muntsi) and the location, I could hardly scrap it 8 years ago. This painting says so much more to me than ‘a place I have been.’

Isn’t that really the reason we paint? . . .to capture a spirit? A feeling? A mood? I suppose the painting is finished when we look at the painting and can feel that spirit.

If you are interested, click on this link to see images of Park Guell . . .designed and built by Antonio Gaudi.

About The Dream

Call me a hopeless romantic. Or, call me a naive child. Perhaps I am.

Maybe you might be, too. I had several people remind me today that the rainbow connection exists.

What is that, you ask? Years ago, it was a song . . .sung by a favorite character of my daughter’s and mine. It was brought to my doorstep again today, my birthday. I wasn’t particularly excited about it being my birthday, but the reminder was about a dream I had years ago . . . .and still do. Not the sort of dream in sleep, but a vision of a hopeful future.

It has arrived. The future, that is. And the reality of that dream is at hand.

The voice I heard in that song was none other than Kermit the frog. Yup! He sang it in his corny, twangy voice . . .but there was nothing corny about the lyrics. . . . .

Why are there so many songs about rainbows?
And what’s on the other side?
Rainbows are visions, but only illusions,
And rainbows have nothing to hide.
So we’ve been told and some choose to believe it
I know they’re wrong, wait and see.
Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection,
The lovers, the dreamers and me.

Who said that every wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star?
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it,
And look what it’s done so far.
What’s so amazing that keeps us stargazing
And what do we think we might see?
Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection,
The lovers, the dreamers, and me.

All of us under its spell,
We know that it’s probably magic…

… Have you been half asleep? And have you heard voices?
I’ve heard them calling my name….
Is this the sweet sound that calls the young sailors?
The voice might be one and the same
I’ve heard it too many times to ignore it
It’s something that I’m s’posed to be…

Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection,
The lovers, the dreamers, and me.

Some would make fun of this private feeling I have about these words. Let them! Today, I was reminded that I heard that sweet sound . . .those voices from within calling my name. It has been through that ‘inner voice’ that my dream . . .my vision . . .is here.
You, dear reader, and those with whom I have come to know through my art over the years are all part of the dream. It has materialized in greater and greater form every year since good ole Kermit sang the lyrics . . . .the dream, I mean. In a few days, I will board a plane bound for the East Coast to be with some of the worlds best watercolor painters . . which is more of the dream coming to life. . . . . . . Like Kermit said in his song . . . . .”I’ve heard it too many times to ignore it. It’s something I’m s’posed to be . . .”
You may smirk or snidely chide or even dismiss it. I never did. I still listen to the voice.

(Click Here if you’d like to hear Sarah McLachlan sing it as it should be sung.)