Saturday, August 2, 2014

Good Beginnings and Good Endings

Convergence, Jackson Pollock, 1952

When I start a painting, I want to lay down a great base to work from but when I finish a painting, I want to recognize the perfect moment when I should walk away from the canvas. It is similar to a love affair – in the beginning; you are on your perfect behavior, trying to create a great impression for your lover. As the affair starts to lose steam, you still remember when everything was a beautiful event making it difficult to recognize the moment to say enough and walk away. You don’t want to destroy the gorgeous memories you have already made with one bad memory of the end. Beautiful beginnings leading to graceful endings are the ideal.

The start and the finish are the big moments in life and in art – everything else is just getting to or from one of those points. The ability to see these two moments is what separates the experienced artist from the student. Looking at the Jackson Pollock painting above, you have to ask yourself how he knew when to stop. How did he know when he had the perfect amount of paint on the canvas? Yet some artists never see an ending - Claude Monet was rumored to travel to museums with a small paint set in his coat and when visiting one of his paintings, he would pull out the set and touch up his work. I suppose you could call that a series of revised small endings.

There is energy in life and art imitates it through process. Embarking upon the journey starts with the first step (to paraphrase the famous Chinese proverb.) Ending the journey requires either knowing where you are headed or at the very least, recognizing it when you arrive.

So here is to the journey, which starts with the energetic and hopeful first step but ends with an elegant final step and a look backward to view the progress that was made.

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