‘It’s not about finishing a painting, but bringing it to a satisfactory conclusion’ That’s what Mr Jones, our art teacher at school, used to tell us during our weekly critiques of each other’s work. I remember that phrase now as I look at three paintings in the studio.
I’ve spent months working on them, trying to measure progress with each new brushstroke. It’s a game of patience and skill, allowing sufficient drying time for each new layer of oil paint. Add a layer; leave it; observe; add another layer.
When I return to the studio in the mornings, I see things with fresh eyes. Sometimes the next step is obvious. Other times I’m just not ‘in the zone’, and it’s better to leave things to simmer for a while. I’ve made mistakes through impatience, so now I take things more steadily. I focus on whether a painting grabs my attention or makes me feel anything. Each image has its own visual power.