4.10.2008

abandoned farm 5x7 in.


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One of the things I think about toward the end of a painting or a sketch is when I should stop. Finishing can be a little tricky sometimes. I want to "finish" the painting but at the same time I don't want to over work it. Over working it amounts to me meddling with the painting until I've taken the life out of it. The variety and freshness of the painting are lost. The ideal painting in my mind is one that is complete in it's statement with a degree of variety and immediacy in the brush strokes. Sometimes I feel I get this right other times... well I don't.

This morning I came across a quote by Robert Henri where he compares two great artists and their view of "finish" in a painting. He said, "The demand we so often hear for finish is not for finish, but is for the expected. Judging a Manet from the point of view of Bouguereau the Manet has not been finished. Judging a Bouguereau from the point of view of Manet the Bouguereau has not been begun."

Comparing these two great artists you can see how both artists define "finish" from different ends of the spectrum. William Bouguereau's take on finish was a highly detailed almost photographic appearance while Édouard Manet's take was simple shapes, colors and values.

8 comments:

Nantucket Art said...

Another great painting and an inspiring quote.. keep up the good work!!

Peter Yesis said...

Manet would enjoy this one. I certainly did. The rusty roof drew me right in.

Anonymous said...

I look forward to seeing your painting each day and the more impressionistic, or at least not overworked look most of them have, is what appeals to me. Also enjoyed the
added information about the painters
and quote today. Thank you for sharing your beautiful art.

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Jason Waskey said...

I think over the last few months that you've been moving closer to Manet than to Bouguereau (both of who I like very much), and I like very much the mark that has left on your art.

Justin Clayton said...

Jason,

I have to agree. Although there are thoughts dancing around in my head to one day attempt a large scale figurative piece like Bouguereau (emphasis on attempt). The skin tones he achieved were just amazing... smooth as butter.

Kelley Carey MacDonald said...

Love your blog, and totally agree with your thoughts on 'finish'. I was watching a painting video the other day by a well knows artist (who I will not name) and I was entranced until I thought he should be finished - but he continued on and on until it looked like - well, a million other overworked paintings! Just goes to show you we all have different ideas when it comes to the 'end' of a painting!

Frank Gardner said...

I've been thinking a lot about "finish" myself lately. I like the looser paintings that leave a little to the viewer's imagination. Manet over Bougereau.
It is hard to be able to stop sometimes though.

I like you paintings.
They have a good painterly feel to them.