What “finished ” means…

I had my second critique of this program at PAFA with Stuart Shils, a fine artist and an affable fellow . He offered earnest advice and once again I was told in this program there aren’t many folks making this sort of work . Now that may be a good thing or it could mean my work isn’t very good . I will wait and see, until I know for sure I will carry on.

One salient point he repeatedly made and one that echoes my very initial critique with Neysa Grassi, was to not overwork the surface. Both Grassi and Shils insisted Goblin Market  was finished  ( when Grassi declared it essentially finished, it was still pretty much a drawing, a nice drawing but not a painting in my limited concept of what makes a painting ). 

That’s flattering , but it isn’t  finished.

How does one sit with work when it is still evolving . I’m not trying to be priggish and insist upon a lacquer finish ( although I do admire that approach quite frequently ) , but I do see much further development with this painting.

Shils parting words were:  ” don’t mess it up “.


My way of dealing with that warning  was to work on another piece. Saturday is my drawing class with blessedly tangible means to an end. Monday I will face my demons , or in this case goblins , and begin anew. Contrary to advice I came here for, I need to be true to how I see this painting . If I “mess” it up, there is this photograph in it’s one moment of glory.

Author: babylonbaroque

I am a painter and printmaker working towards creating a body of work that reflects my own developing aesthetic. New work ,first link. The second link is an on-line portfolio.

8 thoughts on “What “finished ” means…”

  1. Well I do find Goblin Market very satisfying as it is, it’s a great painting Leonard, I hope you’re very proud of it. But you sound as if you want to take it further and I understand you need to follow your vision, not somebody else’s. I would take the ‘not many people producing this kind of work’ comment as a compliment! Your painting is unique and marvellous, that’s to be treasured. I’m looking forward to seeing what you do with colour in Goblin Market, I’ve always admired your amazing colour sense.

    1. Thanks Phil, I plan to keep the painting pretty much as it is : low color key, mostly grey , spots of color. But I want to tighten it a bit . I understand the desire for a certain seeming spontaneous quality but that really isn’t my focus . My interest lies in the Illuminated image and how that translates today . I love the tightness of illumination , where every element is given an equal voice . We will see if I can pull it off. Be well friend!

  2. I’m with you, Leonard. While I agree that it is interesting “as is”, it does not have that “finished” quality I’ve seen in your other work. You have a unique vision and particular style that sets your work apart from other artists. And, dare I say it?, your maturity gives you assurance that I imagine most younger students don’t possess. Stick to your guns!

    1. You are a darling Carla. I went to the Art Museum here yesterday, a spectacular collection. I visited old friends, their collection of northern Renaissance paintings and it confirmed my commitment to my own vision .
      Thank you!

  3. Leonard” Goblin Market as an original painting is ‘finished’ to my view…if you wanted to add more color I would hesitate and review what is there..It is a wonderful work..(the picture on the wall …sono curioso!! Onward and upward..keep up the inspirations…DK

    1. I’m glad you like it and I will show it to you when I return!
      It won’t change much , coloring is pretty set, just tightening technique
      Be well

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