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  • Julia Poulton

When is a painting finished?

One thing I’ve reflected on lately, is that during the early stages of creating new work, I sometimes think a painting is finished. Probably because I’m caught up in the excitement of new marks and colours – and don’t want to lose this fresh dynamic feel.



Experience tells me however, that my paintings are not usually finished at this stage. They usually need more. Those first layers and marks definitely have a unique energy to them, but they are simply the first part of the process. It’s about trusting the process - to take the painting beyond those seductive early stages and allow it to become its final self!

Painting intuitively and being in the moment means I can still get carried away with this early excitement – (I don’t want to lose this excitement by the way - it’s part of the fun!) but by taking a step back or leaving it a few days, I can come back with fresh eyes & energy to do more.


What is the doing more? Well for me that’s simply painting boldly and intuitively, not being afraid to add more layers, different colours, new marks or a complete paint over!



There may be a moment of dilemma (what if I ruin something good?) but this feels like staying in the ‘safe’ zone and safe doesn’t feel inspiring or energising to me - there's something very liberating about painting over a painting!


For me, art is about being bold, taking risks and pushing boundaries. That's where beautiful exciting things happen.


So when is a painting finished then..? It’s hard to answer definitively but I believe it’s about depth and composition – depth created from the rich history of layers and expressive brush marks; and composition - where the eye is drawn ‘into’ the painting with interest and intrigue, bringing about a deeper, more meaningful connection with the artwork.


Spirited Away, Oil on Canvas 100 x 100 cm



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