It’s time to “start” talking about how you know when you’re done with something? This will be the topic of the next few post. When are you done? Why might you not want to get done? When might it better not to finish?
Tonight, though, I want to share a note from my friend Stephen Bach. Stephen is an artist in the McRae Art Studios and a good friend. At the studio, artists often tease him about not stopping when we all think he’s finished. You’ll often hear people, when they peak in his space, saying “it’s done Stephen.” I asked Stephen to write his thoughts on this. Here’s what he had to say.
As a painter, I don’t know if I have reasons for not knowing when to quit – or excuses. But I know I have trouble leaving well enough alone. Just today I took a “finished” painting off the wall and tweaked the colors to make what I believe is a better piece. That’s why so many of my pieces sell wet, I suppose.My paintings are my professional identity and my legacy and I reserve the right to tweak if it means a better piece of work. If I think there is a higher level to be reached in a final product, I am going to keep climbing. But it does suck when you reach the summit and slide off the other side of the hill. Like they say, “you have to know when to say when”.This speaks to judgement, a most important ingredient in all creative endeavors. Its a hard thing to master for some of us. I have to ask myself where on the canvas is that place where talent and energy peak?Are we humans wired to only reach an inner programmed level of accomplishment – and no matter how hard we try, we can’t pass that point? Or can we push over that hump and get to the next level. In my case, I don’t know the answer to that, and maybe that’s why I never know if a piece is truly finished. Does that mean I have self doubt or do I believe I have more ability left in me? Because I continue to push the limit, I hope that points to the latter.
Here’s a couple links so you can see some of Stephen’s paintings. No matter the path, he does seem to finsih well in the end.