Monday, February 28, 2011
How do I know when I'm done?
It takes a fresh eye…
Every artist (writer, musician, artisan) knows the feeling. Unlike placing the last piece in a puzzle, or completing a crossword, the creator never knows precisely when her work is finished. There is always room for one more brush stroke, one more adjective, one more bead. How do we know when to quit?
Some art works have their own way of telling us that they are over-embellished or over-worked. In watercolor painting and creating jewelry, less can be more.
I was thinking about these things today as I added beadwork to these bronze pendants that I had fired weeks ago. Yesterday I selected the beads for each of them and spent hours trying different configurations for stringing. Did the beads complement the stones and color in the pendants? Were the various shapes, sizes and textures true to the style of the bronze work?
Now notice the necklace in the center of the picture. I strung simple amethyst beads with spacers in the middle of the strand and added larger, more colorful beads to one side. Not sure if I liked the look, I left it lying on the workbench overnight.
This morning I looked at it with fresh eyes and saw something different: a different kind of symmetry. The pendant is as irregular as the unfinished strand of beads, with its smooth and rough edges. Somehow, hanging from this lop-sided strand, it seemed right. There is something appealing about the asymmetry. Something artistic…
Is it finished? I’ll allow my eyes to refresh themselves again before I decide.