I visited the High Museum of Art while in Atlanta a couple of weeks ago. As I was studying some paintings by Vuillard, Monet, and Matisse, I started to notice the parts of their paintings that looked incomplete---the raw canvas showing through, the unclear marks, the ambiguous shapes. I was drawn to these parts. These parts were, for me, the parts that gave the painting life and light, and these were the parts that I enjoyed finding hidden throughout. They challenge so many rules of what is complete.
This is painting by Henri Matisse titled "Femme assise devant son piano." Notice her hands, especially the one furthest away. They are so sketchy and blurred, but they make such on impact. They make you believe she is playing a song, not just posing for a picture.
At the college I went to, we were taught to never leave raw canvas showing, especially unintentionally and to really work up a painting for it to be finished. Paint something, paint it out, paint it back in, even thinking about it know, I get overwhelmed. Haha. There were so many of these rules that great art should have, and I can just remember having those rules at the end of my brush every time I painted.
Not too long before I graduated. some students were talking about these rules of composition, color, drawing, etc. My painting professor told them something along the lines of: "Well the rules are there for you break, you just have to a good reason to or it just has to be good." My mind was blown. Haha. But it was the most freeing statement I had heard since studying art in college. I started to feel that freedom in my work. I was reminded seeing those paintings by Vuillard, Monet and Matisse that I can break the rules. I feel like I am truly starting to understand what it means to have that confidence in my work.
I painted a landscape on canvas a week or so ago that I left more raw canvas showing than I ever have. I was so nervous to show it to others as finished painting. I felt like they would deem it incomplete.