WHEN DOES IT HAVE A RIGHT TO LIVE? Comments Off on WHEN DOES IT HAVE A RIGHT TO LIVE?

WHEN DOES IT HAVE A RIGHT TO LIVE?

L’Arbre, The Tree , Pastel 12×18, Albert Handell  

WHEN DOES IT HAVE A RIGHT TO LIVE?
WHEN IS A PAINTING FINISHED?
WHEN DOES IT GET SIGNED?

If you wish to spend forever to figure out the answer to these questions, try sitting in the coffee shop at the ART STUDENTS LEAGUE in N.Y.C.  This is what I did when I was a young artist starting out.  One could take a seat, as I did, have a cup of coffee and talk with a few fellow art students about the question: WHEN IS A PAINTING FINISHED?  This question was often asked and the answer was always discussed heatedly and at great length. Everyone always had varied answers and were always willing to defend their theory to support their ideas.

After many years (58) and many paintings (a few thousand) for me…there seems to be no obvious ” z ” to this alphabet called painting; no clear-cut formula to arrive there, nor definitive answer as to when a painting is finished… go figure.

It turns out, as far as I’m concerned, when I am at a point with one of my paintings of which I am excited about it, but unclear as to what to do next, I ask myself:

“If, by chance, this painting were taken away from me right now, does this painting deserve to exist with my signature, therefor, should I sign it-?”

YES… if the painting has life, feeling and beauty to it… with that in mind, I do not hesitate to sign the work.  For me, at this point, it deserves to be considered “finished”.

“PAINT AS IF YOUR PAINTING HAS A RIGHT TO LIVE-!”

Let the process of painting be an exploratory experience and stop being so concerned about finishing.