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Waiting ?

The evolution of a painting is strange and unpredictable . Some go smoothly and are started and finished in days , or even , very occasionally , hours , while others linger on the easel or drawing board for years . Some are never completed and are abandoned to the ‘could have been’ pile .
I’ve been working on this painting for years – I can’t remember how many but I’d guess around 8-10 but it might be more . It’s in acrylic ( it’s 96 x 50 cm in size ) and is on canvas . This is pretty rare for me . Virtually all my acrylics are on paper or board . Anyhow , for some reason all those years ago I chose canvas . The subject is one I’d used in a few watercolours as I enjoyed the curving sweep of the stairway and decided to have a murky figure lurking in the shadows , staring out of the window . ‘What are they looking at ? I’ll leave that you the dubious imaginations of the viewer .
Over the years I’ve poked and prodded , glazed scratched , dribbled , splattered and scumbled it . I’ve sometimes felt it finally finished , before deciding to dabble a bit more . It’s often been left aside for months and even years , while I work on other things , always with the belief that it still has potential and is worth struggling on with . I hate to think how many hours have been spent on it , but certainly many days and probably weeks .
One of the major dilemmas for a painter is to work out when a piece is finished . I’ve come up with my own aphorism for this . A painting is ‘finished ‘ when it’s not as good as it just was …. and isn’t going to get any better . I think that I’ve finally reached that point with this one , so it’s time to abandon it and move on . Another pertinent phrase at this point might be – ‘ A painting is never finished – it’s merely abandoned ‘ . This has been probably the longest gestation period for any painting of mine and it’ll probably be quite a time before I’ll be able to observe it with fresh eyes and work out if all the effort was worth it
. As it took so long to paint I thought I’d choose an appropriate title .       ‘On the Stairs … Waiting ‘

On the Stairs .. Waiting

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