Work In Progress

Seven Veils Falls, Lake O'Hara (Work In Progress), 30x24, acrylic painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki

Is it done yet? When will it be finished? It looks perfect to me!

Any of this sounds familiar? There is also my personal favorite (not) - I hope you don't ruin it!

Okay, I admit, that last one comes from my internal self doubt (the longer I work on a piece, the higher it raises its nasty head).

Regardless of all this trepidation, I believe that each painting takes its sweet time, and some happen to take longer than others.

All paintings are not made the same. There are those that fly off the brush, and others that have a level of complexity that slowly unfolds until all its elements fit together the way the artist finds satisfying.

The angst over trying to speed up the process can really affect my flow. I have been told (many times) that patience is not one of my virtues, so I constantly have to deal with lack of it.

What to do when a paintings demands more and more time and I feel I am approaching my wits end?

Yep, I know, I can read your mind. I should walk away for a while, yes? Great advice!

Here are some questions I ask myself while a complex work in progress painting is resting on the secondary easel:

- Is the composition really sound? Should something in it be simplified or tweaked?

- Are the values appropriate to the scene? (ratio of dark and light areas)

- Are the edges treated well? (soft, hard, disappearing, etc.)

- Are the colors harmonious yet surprising?

- Is the surface quality sound? (texture, brushstrokes)

- Does it look fresh? What can be done to make it all look easy? (now this is an interesting subject on its own, isn't it?)

And then one day I look at it and all parts of the painting appear to sing, my eyes find a specific dance in it, and I feel that familiar pang of joy in my throat. Sounds melodramatic? Well it is. I am sure that every art lover has felt it. The painting comes alive in some way and it's ready to go out into the world. I think that deserves a drum-roll! What would art be without drama?

Happy Autumn!