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Studio News - July 2023

Pink and Blue abstract landscape painting shapes

How do I know when a painting is finished?

I've got new paintings on the go at the moment and this week I felt like I was getting close to finishing one of them.......

And that's when the artists' age-old dilemma comes into play.

At what point do I stop and feel satisfied that this painting is 'done'?

Leonardo Da Vinci once said that 'art is never finished, only abandoned.'

Which to some extent is true in the great scheme of things - at some point the urge to start a new painting comes along and so you have no choice but to 'abandon' the last one, in order to move on and make progress.

But how do I know when I've reached this point, the point at which I am happy to go with this 'abandonment' theory?

And are Leonardo's thoughts in line with my own?

For me, it's not easy to know exactly, or ever feel totally comfortable with finishing a painting as I always wonder:

Have I done enough?

Is this painting everything it could be?

Is it asking me for something else?

These are just a few of the questions I ask myself when I start to feel as though the journey of a painting might have come full circle.

But really in the end it comes down to an almost sixth sense about this feeling of completion.

When I'm working on a painting, it feels alive, active, fluid, in motion, responsive, changing and evolving, and when these feelings of the work being a live entity start to dissipate, I know I'm nearing the end with it.

All the elements within it seem to settle and begin to co-exist in a kind of gentle conversation.

I start to feel quite separate from it.

I'm physically standing back more to take it in and as a consequence my emotional involvement with it diminishes.

Its not as if I decide to just 'leave it there',

rather it's that the painting pushes me away.

I'm not sure I ever feel as though I abandon a painting, instead the paintings tend to 'abandon' me. They usher me out of their space, happy in their own skin, done with me fiddling and faffing and trying to apply some unquantifiable rules about 'finishing it off'.

The time comes for a painting to go it's way and I go mine.

So, far be it from me to question Leonardo's thoughts on the subject, but I wonder if he got the idea of 'abandonment' the wrong way round?

Perhaps it's a form of mutual abandonment.......

Either way, I think it's time for me to turn my attention to the next painting!


Texture Tips

Working with larger areas of space in my current paintings, I've been thinking a lot about keeping these areas visually interesting. I thought I'd share a closer look at just a couple of ways I create surface and visual texture. I don't always use these methods, but they are part of my toolkit and I turn to them at various stages of working on a painting.


My pile of exploratory sketches continues to grow with new colour combinations and ideas. I love doing these, they've really become an expression of creative play. I'm finding so many benefits of working on these as a separate project from my bigger paintings; they're a testing ground for colour, texture, shape and ways to mix my media. Enjoy the latest!

Link to art making video pink and green abstract art sketch

Link to art making video orange and blue abstract art sketch

Link to art making video pink and yellow abstract art sketch

Link to art making video pink and green sketch


And finally, some exciting news.....!

'Underfoot' from my Portal Series has been selected as a finalist in this year's Du Rietz Art Awards at Gympie Regional Gallery.

Abstract mixed media painting yellow green blue landscape art

Logo for Du Rietz Art Awards 2023


So until next month, enjoy creative time if it comes your way and tune into the feelings you have when you're at the easel - they're a good guide to progress and finishing!

Charlotte Wensley Contemporary Abstract Art Signature


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