21 November 2008

Knowing when to stop

How do you know when something is finished?

As an artist, this question can only be answered by personal intuition. Sometimes you just know. Unfortunately this knowledge is only gained by pushing many previous pieces too far. During the creative process there is always the danger of ruining a good thing. It is a fine line. Casualties happen. But so do strokes of genius and happy accidents.

Knowing when to stop, to walk away, to sleep on it. It grows out of a greater understanding of your own artistic process.

It took me a long time to let go of the idea that every piece I work on is precious. This allows me to push and pull and experiment. I have a very organic way of working that generally involves a lot of fragments of nothing that eventually become something. I spread out everywhere, I turn up the music, I get messy, I rip things.

Letting go of the sacredness of each piece allows me to tear up something that isn’t working. The same intuition that grants me the ability to know when something is done, also allows me to realize when something isn’t working. This is not necessarily a death sentence for a piece. I have also learned to sleep on things. Revisit them in the morning with new eyes. Hit pause. Take a step back.

How do you know when to stop? You learn.

Happy Accident

ink on paper

5 x 10"

This was meant to be something else. But I like it just the way it is.

copyright Kate Castelli 2008

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