Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Completed Portrait

Portraits such as this one take me soooo long to complete, and I am always happy when I call it done and paint my signature on it. Someone just asked me the other night how I know when to stop, how I know when it is finished. The answer is straightforward. When I can't find anything to do to it that will make it better. Now that doesn't mean that I won't see something later that I might have done differently. As Burt Silverman once said, "The dynamic of a painting does not end with the signature." As you grow as an artist, and let's hope that we are growing every day in some way, you will see things differently, may learn something new that you could have applied to an old work. You may have reached a greater understanding on resolving particular problems in a painting. But for me, once it is done, I rarely, if ever, go back to an old painting. If anything, I might repaint it (not a portrait), applying the newer philosophies or techniques to a new work. Then I have the advantage of comparison.
I hope you like this painting. Chance is the third grandchild I've painted for this client, with one more to go. (Chance's cousin, Ben, is in the right hand column of this blog.) But I have another portrait in the last stages (Alexandria) and will have that finished by next week.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Art & Carol said...

Just a wonderful painting of a beautiful young man! Kudo's to you on this one...GREAT painting!

Carolyn Finnell said...

A good friend (who had a tendency to overwork her art) said "It takes 2 people to produce a great painting. the artist who paints it and the person with a gun who shoots them when it's done." It can be very hard for me to say, "OK, it's done" because every time I look at it I can see something I could change. What I have had to do is tell myself "it will never be perfect, but it can be good" and let it go. This is very, very good.

Pat Gray said...

Thanks Art & Carol. You always say the nicest things!

Carolyn, I love the line about the artist and the person with a gun! In addition to the satisfaction and relief that comes with the completion of a painting, especially a commissioned piece, there is also that sense of exasperation at how long it takes, that feeling of hopeful anticipation that the client will like it and absolute anxiety that the client won't! In that case the person with the gun comes in handy! LOL. While I, too, know a painting can never be perfect, I do know when I have done the very best that I can at this point in time. A year later, perhaps I could paint it better, but for today, this is how I see. And I thank you for your kind words!

Fran W. said...

Carolyn, as the mother of the subject in the portrait I would like to say, "It's fabulous!" Thank you for all of your due diligence. I know it has been a rough year, but the end result was worth waiting for! Thank you so much!

Anonymous said...

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Pat Gray said...

Thank you, Barbara! Glad to have you!

And thanks, Fran. You have alleviated some of that anxiety I mentioned above!

I have this image posted on my websites and have received several very favorable and kind comments there as well. This painting seems to be one that is garnering attention and praise. We artists pray for days like that!