Diving to the bottom of Lake Michigan

Usually I don’t show a painting in progress to my artist friends.  I wait until it is more finished before I invite constructive comments. But yesterday, I showed this painting to an art buddy who commented that it is finished. That took me by surprise because I have many ideas of how to continue working  on what I merely considered an ‘underpainting’ of a girl diving to the bottom of Lake Michigan.

Girl diving to the bottom of Lake Michigan, montage of 5 frames of a video taken by the girl’s brother. aluminum panel, ,24 x 48 in, oil

Earlier, during our lunch, some of the artists had discussed the difficulty to know  when a work is finished. The danger being that one could overdo it, thereby destroying it. With that in mind, rather than continuing working on my painting,  I decided to do the same motif over but then experiment with further ideas. 

Do you know when your work is finished – painting, writing, sculpting, designing your garden, inventing a new cooking recipe…?

3 thoughts on “Diving to the bottom of Lake Michigan”

  1. I love this painting, Birget. Your creativity is everpresent. I have ruined drawings by not knowing when to stop. I try to remind myself that more often than not, less is more, and to leave space so that the viewer’s imagination can participate. Even with faces, abstracts, whatever, I try to remind myself to not overdo. Are there art rules to help us know when to stop?

  2. Thank you, Janny. What a wonderful idea to leave space for the viewer’s imagination. I will keep that in mind.- I don’t think there are any rules, just learning oneself

  3. In writing, I found that it is possible by doing more to make it better. Once I wrote an abstract for a scientific meeting. It started out as badly verbose. Reading one of Hemingway’s short story helped me to change it into a properly terse report. In oil painting, I now sometimes do the same, adding a new layer, obscuring what I didn’t like. Remembering one of Singer Sargent’s water colors, that I saw at the Brooklyn museum, he used white gouache to obscure the background creating a foaming brook. Thus working more, depending on the medium, may help to simplify.

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