Tag Archives: finishing a painting

pastel finished? : Gail Sibley, "OverCast Day At The Beach," pastel on Wallis paper, 9 x 12 in

Is This Plein Air Pastel Finished?

I think many of us artists have this problem – knowing when a painting is finished. Sometimes, without our realizing it, a painting is finished back a few steps. I know my tendency is to want to pick away, making the tiniest of tweaks. Often this can eradicate the spontaneity that was there especially when it comes to work done en plein air. We bring the piece back into the studio, study it, and then see the ‘flaws’ which we need to ‘correct’. Often these so called flaws are what bring the painting to vibrant life and ‘correcting’ them brings along a slow death. Unless we stop in time. And when is that time?

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This Painting Was Finished Before I Knew It!

 

Have you ever had the experience of a painting that was done before you knew it? Well, this painting was finished before I had a clue. I couldn’t think of what more to do – should I add colour, should I add more detail, should I…what? It happened so quickly that I couldn’t believe it was actually finished. I put it away then I’d pull it out from time to time, have a look, couldn’t think of what else to do, then put it away again. This happened a number of times.

One day it was an ‘out’ day for the pastel. Artist friends Shirlee, Susan and Donna were visiting and when they saw the piece sitting there on the shelf, they expressed great appreciation for it. “Don’t touch it!!” Wow. Okay then.

So I took it in to my framer along with all the other pieces for my Gallery 8 show (opening 16 May). Elma happens to work for one of my other galleries, Peninsula Gallery, and she and the gallery owners LOVED it. Well it was then that I really believed it was done!! Funny how sometimes you need to hear the judgement of others before you can decide.

 

So without further ado, here’s the painting:

 

Gail Sibley, "Darkly, The Horizon," 18 x 12 in, pastel on Wallis paper. The painting was finished before I knew it!  If you know my colour palette, you'll know these muted colours are unusual for me. An almost pure abstract is also unusual but is definitely a path I'm on!

Gail Sibley, “Darkly, The Horizon,” 18 x 12 in, pastel on Wallis paper. If you know my colour palette, you’ll know these muted colours are unusual for me. An almost pure abstract is also unusual but is definitely a path I’m on!

 

 

And now, a quick review of the process (I have very few photos as it went along so quickly!).

 

My inspiration from a photo taken on a winter visit to my sister in Ontario. I loved the abstract bands of different whites

My inspiration – from a photo taken on a winter visit to my sister in Ontario. I loved the abstract bands of different whites

 

Thumbnail sketch showing the three main values and the composition, 2 1/2 x 1 in, pencil

Thumbnail sketch showing the three main values and the composition, 2 1/2 x 1 in, pencil

 

First layer of pastel. I decided that since it would be a fairly cool picture, that I would apply a warm layer over the entire surface to begin.

First layer of pastel. I decided that since it would be a fairly cool picture, that I would apply a warm layer over the entire surface to begin.

 

More layers of pastel added. This was the last photo I took before the one of the finished piece. Crazy huh??

More layers of pastel added. This was the last photo I took before the one of the finished piece. Crazy huh??

 

Do you always know when a painting is finished? Write and let me know. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

Thanks for sharing this time with me.

~ Gail

 

I’ll leave you with this great quote by Harley Brown. Feel free to Pin It!!

Is this true for you?