hundreds of paintings in one artwork

There can be hundreds of paintings in one painting. It’s about the process every time I paint. Every painting is asking other skills and another composition. With this one, finally called ‘Green View’ I had several stages that I’ll share with you. I sometimes wouldn’t even imagine this is the same painting. 
How do you decide to paint something over?

the process of staring at the painting and turning it around and around

The answer may be simply: when the painting tells you so. If not, you have to move on! And at that point, to me it’s often a long and tough challenge. Staring at my work, turning it around a couple of times… and then discovering that this one should be definitely horizontal! 
In the first layer of ‘Green view’ I worked with intense blue and green which would maybe be good for a small canvas, but for a piece of 100×70 cm it felt too bright. I like it more warm and more earthy. 
Another thing you’ll mention is the row of trees and the cloudy sky. It’s really becoming a landscape. 
But am I satisfied? No!

some criteria to decide whether your artwork is finished

Are there some criteria you can use to decide whether it’s finished? For me the intuition is the most important thing. If my feeling says: ‘no, it’s not exactly what I want’, I can question myself the following:

  • Is the composition well balanced? Are there too many things? Or does it need something more instead?
  • Has it something to do with the colors? Are they too pale? Too bright? Are the colors a good match together?
  • Has the painting more voices in it? So, maybe it’s telling a story or a landscape, but at the same time there are small details in it that doesn’t belong there.
  • Ask yourself: What kind of painting do I want to make? Landscape, abstract or maybe a figurative one with people in it?

 You maybe have to go back to the start and remind yourself of what you were first wanting to tell with this painting. Working on ‘Green View’ it was just that I wasn’t satisfied with everything I did. Colors were too screaming… then colors were too pale… the row of trees wasn’t placed well… One thing became clear: this has to be a landscape. It’s good to get back to yourself and ask: What do I mean with this? What do I exactly want? If you don’t know, that’s OK too!! Not knowing is great! It’s asking you to leave the painting for a while and work on it later. When it’s the right time, the painting will tell you what to do. Maybe that will be: paint me over. Or: just a bit more blue. 
In my case with ‘Green View’ I discovered that there need to be a diagonal line in it. Here, in phase 4 (or maybe more, but I think I didn’t cover all the stages with my iPhone…) I brought in that line and while I thought: these colors are far too pale, this is going into a right direction! Chapeau. 

time will tell!

But the best answer to the main question ‘is it done?’ will sometimes be: time. You just need to wait in order to know whether it’s good or not. In the moment, when you’re in the middle of it, you can simply get lost in the process. Only afterwards you can overview what you were in at that time and you can conclude: this was exactly how I felt it. Green View was put away for several times. While I was working on other things, it kind of had its parallel story. I found out a nice technique when I created the Angels postcard series. That was exactly the thing ‘Green View’ needed! I’ve just gone wild on that technique, to use it on such a large scale. The landscape became a field… a very wide view. A green view.

don’t stop me now

At this stage, I could finally feel joy in working on this piece. I can even say that I didn’t want to stop at all! The good thing of knowing that you’re almost there is that you can thing about one more painting in the same style. And while working on that next one, it’s becoming clear that this one is asking other skills and … time. O, it’s an endless circle. We are really never finished at all.