"I was working on the proof of one of my poems all morning,and took out a comma," wrote Oscar Wilde. "In the afternoon, I put it back in again".
If I am very lucky, I can bring a painting to completion and never retouch it because I know that it's truly finished. But often I just stop working on a difficult piece (or I call it done when I know it really isn't finished). Those paintings get stacked in a corner of my garage and when I am ready, I pull them out and completely rework them. Sometimes I marble over them, and other times I simply paint over them in acrylics and obscure most of the original painting. But I love the challenge of starting with SOMETHING on the paper or canvas as opposed to a blank slate. It's very liberating to know that I've got nothing to lose.
Case in point: My painting "The Come-On" (which still might not be finished!) has gone through so many changes since 2016, that I almost gave up on it. But since it is a canvas, and I couldn't crop it down like I can with paper, I felt obliged to at least TRY to revive it over the years. Yes, you read that correctly--YEARS! Click on the slideshow to see the progression that this canvas went through from landscape to figures to solo figure until it became two larger figures. How many hours and pints of paint did I spend on this painting? I don't keep track of that info, but I do take pictures of my paintings in progress, so I know where I started and how I got the painting to its current state. As artist Stan Kurth often says: "a painting isn't done until it sells and I can't work on it anymore!".