STUDIO: Painting in Progress 4-Completion

A Tale of the Forked River

Richard Bledsoe “A Tale of the Forked River” acrylic on canvas 36″ x 36″

On March 15 I posted a picture of a blank canvas I had just built. I finished the painting on Sunday June 28.

As we share our studio space, my wife Michele Bledsoe and I also share observations. We’ve been able to identify how we can tell our paintings are completed.

This is important for intuitive artists, working out imagery that comes from the imagination. Technically a painting is never really done. You just have to be able to recognize an effective stopping point, where the piece has reached a place of integrity: the sense of being whole, where even the contradictions are part of an overall unity.

A work in progress is full of problems. As we paint we zero in on the problem areas. Each adjustment creates a new set of issues. During this process all we can see on the paintings are the problems needing to be fixed.

As a painting nears completion, we start to see the entire image again.

So what does my painting “A Tale of the Forked River” mean?

Hopefully what I show you speaks for itself.


Flashback: The Beginning of the Painting

Earlier Installments

Introduction: Creating a Canvas

Painting in Progress 1

Painting in Progress 2

Painting in Progress 3


16 thoughts on “STUDIO: Painting in Progress 4-Completion

  1. The process you describe so very like the processes involved in composing music – the only difference here is that I don’t have the advantage of a partner who is also a composer to give their opinion as to whether the work is actually “ready”.

  2. It is amazing how similar the processes of creation are despite the different mediums. And yes, having Michele is a great advantage in every way! It was art that brought us together.

  3. I am very in synch with this idea of a painting being “whole.” I am not much of a perfectionist so I am always trying to explain how I get to the end. It will never be perfect and never be finished but I know when it is whole. How do I know? I don’t know. I just know. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I’ve come to understand not to expect perfection-in fact, the most excitement comes when I’m trying to go further than I’m really able too, skill wise. That’s how growth happens. Pushing the boundaries is more important than looking polished. Thanks for sharing your insights!

  5. I think I made great strides when I finally stopped trying to paint towards something I had conceived and instead let the process take me some pace I would never have conceived. Allowing my reactions to the progress dictate the next steps I see as like jazz music. It’s quite liberating.

  6. I know what you mean-I always say the “accidents” are the best part of the painting. Recognizing what is effective and building on it is a vital artistic skill.

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