The Struggles Latent in Finishing a Painting

Coca-Cola Sign and Gate Nearly Finished

Coca-Cola Sign and Gate Nearly Finished

When a reporter asked [Jack Kerouac] how he was able to finish so many novels, since he  never finished anything elsehe gave a jazzman’s answer.  “I don’t finish,” he said.  “I just write it continuously.  Sooner or later you reach the point in a book where you feel everybody’s bored, and you bring it around somehow and end it.  That’s deep form.”

John Leland, Why Kerouac Matters: The Lessons of On the Road (They’re Not What You Think)

For several days, I have stared at this large watercolor on my drafting table, while pursuing domestic chores.  Today being Sunday, I thought I would take a shot at finishing it, and I believe I’m getting quite close.  I never know when to say a watercolor is done, except to acknowledge the point where anything I do no longer improves the work’s overall appearance.  I then choose to sign it and let it go.  I’m close with this one.



12 Responses to “The Struggles Latent in Finishing a Painting”

  1. Duncan Says:

    My creative writing professor always said that poems are never finished, only abandoned. I suppose this applies to paintings as well. I’ve never finished one. I’ve only quit working on them when I couldn’t make them any better. Beautiful painting my friend!


  2. Reid Rogers Says:

    A most gorgeous painting David! Love the composition, color, sign, buts mostly the gate. I wish more musicians knew when to call it quits on a song. I have know many artists who could hold your interest throughout a long composition but today’s long compositions are usually endless repeats of the same theme.


    • davidtripp Says:

      Very thought-provoking, Reid. Thank you for posting that. I’m continuing to look for connections between painting, writing, composing music. The very act of creating has always held my attention, and I love talking to others about it. Thanks for joining in on this dialogue.


  3. Deanna Tennent Masterson Says:

    You’ve accomplished so much this weekend. great color harmony & the cool aqua is perfect in the painting…. the fence & sign have wonderful relationship to each other.


  4. lifeofawillow Says:

    I like your process.


  5. Bonnie Says:

    Love it. It makes me see an old abandoned house, that once held life…but their life went on to other ways and left it behind. And there’s the gate!…that the children swung on and many a friend opened…to enjoy hours of friendship with those inside. I love it when a painting makes me see things in my mind! It tells a story.


    • davidtripp Says:

      Wow, thank you, Bonnie. I love to weave narratives as I paint these kinds of subjects. Thank you for sharing yours. When I read, my mind creates images; when I paint, my mind creates stories. I really love going back-and-forth between these.


  6. lesliepaints Says:

    This is great! I’d say it’s done, but I know what you mean about not being done till you can let it be, David.


    • davidtripp Says:

      Thank you, Leslie! I’ve set it aside to “compost” awhile 🙂 Soon, I’ll decide whether it needs more work or if I should just sign it. Meanwhile, I’ve started on another . . .


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