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When is a picture finished?

When you lose freshness – it’s already too late. And when you try and rectify that by applying too much detail . . . STEP AWAY! Go for a walk round the block – Mmmm, did I even hear that inner voice, let alone listen to it?

If I’m being very critical, where this picture is concerned, was it ‘finished’ somewhere between the last two stages? Yes, the foreground tree line was very dark in the gathering gloom of a late autumnal afternoon, but I prefer the freshness and immediacy of the initial washes that better served to indicate the varied tree shapes, foliage and positions through the mid-plane.

Maybe the ‘goal’ of a painting needs to be writ large and visible, an ever-present nagging reminder that serves to keep the painter on track, on message, during its process? The goal of this painting? That light. The vista. The layers of blue signifying distance. The sense of space. The dying light and quiet peace at end of day.

In darkening those foreground trees, the vista is framed, the light and distance is heightened and accentuated, but does it compete? Maybe I’m being overly critical! I do remember distinctly how this view stopped me in my tracks.


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