On the appeal of unfinished things

Eaten in moderation, raw cake batter is, I think, far superior in flavour and texture to any baked cake. As with cakes, so with paintings. Now that I have finished this painting of a shell, I am not sure which version I like best: the “raw” (i.e. the under-painting), the “cooked” (i.e. the finished painting), or the in-between (i.e. with the tones adjusted, but no colour or final texture added).

The shell was brought home, sandy and wrapped in wet Speedos, from a seaside holiday far far away. On quiet nights, I can still hear a far-distant ocean echoing from it. The Atlantic whispering on a shelf in suburban Melbourne.

‘Cooked’. I just realised this looks like Steve Tyler, were he to assume mollusc form.

15 thoughts on “On the appeal of unfinished things

  1. I know what you mean. I like the warm, sketchy feel of the underpainting.

    Only the final one would be flamboyant enough Steve Tyler though. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Chris. I think I often like preliminary sketches at least as much as the finished painting; they are often similar to water colours: light in tone and allow the canvas to shine through.
      I used Richard Harding’s Burnt Umber for the initial sketch. Such a warm, flexible colour – I love it. My aim this year is to try some of his Cerulean Blue, but I need to win the lottery first!
      Hope you had a merry Christmas, and have a happy and healthy New Year. Cannot tell you how impressed we have all been with NZ this year – such a fantastic effort.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, Phil. Look forward to seeing some tiny dabs of RH cerulean blue on upcoming paintings. 😆

        I feel very fortunate to be in NZ. But, to be fair, it’s a much smaller country, with a much simpler government, than many others. So, probably easier to manage in coordinated way.

        Happy new year (in advance), Phil!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. You know what, Claudia, I think you are right. A wise teacher told me that true mastery comes from leaving things out. That is my aim for the coming year.
      Thank you for your support and insightful comments throughout the year. I hope you had a good Christmas and have a happy and health New Year.


      1. I hope for a good 2021 to you, and plenty of happy art time. And I second your concept of leaving things out. Coincidentally I am aiming for this as well this year (and its close sibling, letting go). I struggle myself with adding more and more to things that need to be spare and less cluttered. It’s only recently I am uderstanding this tendency in myself. I am trying to stop before I believe I am finished, and let the art wait a bit, settle, see if it really needs more, or is it just me wanting to keep working? To address the latter problem, I have started working on 2-3-4 paintings, drawings, etc., at one time. The urge to work then gets spread out. I can keep going without killing all the freshness in the artwork (usually). And it lets me keep happily working along all the same, which is really what I want to be doing – just making things.


      2. Sounds like a very good plan. I am often surprised when I return to a picture after a day or so, and it looks like a totally different picture. Usually I see flaws I had not previously detected. Either it is the ‘bad art’ fairies visiting overnight, or the human brain (like the stomach) needs time to digest the things it is fed.
        I look forward to seeing your new things in 2021!

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.