Some thoughts on finishing a painting

There are a number of things that are striking to me in the completion of “Emanation”. Let me start with the last, which is the title.

The day I finished the painting I took a picture and placed it on Facebook. Here I celebrated me finishing a painting (which seem to happen less frequently than what I plan for) and then asked for suggestions on a title. I was then thinking about something such as “Beating about the Bush”.

Oil on canvas painting Emanation by Gerhi Janse van Vuuren showing a man hidden by some foliage.
Gerhi Janse van Vuuren, Emanation, oil on canvas, 2016

My idea was shot down and suggestions and responses focused on things such as emergence, or the opposite of emergence. This led me to thinking and typically I went to a Thesaurus and then ended up with the title “Emanation”.

This means something issuing from a source. But it also means: “a being or force which is a manifestation of God”. How is that for a kick-ass meaning to a work.

What I also really enjoyed about the interaction about the work on Facebook was the interaction. I am used to putting things out there and getting dead silence in return. This time it was different and I found the experience, and the responses from people, uplifting. What more can I say, I know some great people.

In the painting of the work I of course went through a series of revisions. When don’t I?

The painting started of as a failed canvas by a student I don’t know. It was a leftover in the storeroom when I took over teaching art at Michael Mount Waldorf School in 2013.

I first started painting some aphorisms on the canvas with the idea of putting it up in the classroom as inspiration. That quickly felt corny and I couldn’t figure out what to do with the image part of the painting. The canvas lingered for two years in the storeroom until this year when I started with the idea of doing minimalist paintings. The canvas was repainted with just a textured surface.

Next I tried going extremely minimalist with some kind of landscape element but that felt old very quickly and I reverted to something more figurative. Drawing on my personal history and interests, especially of the San Fransisco Bay Area figurative artists, I quickly sketched in two figures and improvised some vegetation. In the painting the second figure disappeared while the picture galloped to completion. On the day I finished the painting I said to myself that I could fiddle around for it for another couple of months, or I could not beat around the bush and get it finished. So I did, and I also had an idea for title, which was then scrapped as you saw.

The painting is now finished and available for purchase. I might have to check it over this week just to see if there is a glaze to even out but nothing significant will change.

I don’t have dimension yet because the painting is at school and I am home but I will remedy that come Thursday. Nor do I have a price yet or have I put it in my shop. Mainly because I only just started the shop and I am still trying it out but also because I don’t know yet. But if there are any interest drop me a line and I will reserve it right away.

And then talking about the shop. I am trying it out and have one product in there so far. My painting “Praenomen” from 2015. This one you can order through the shop so I can know the system works. I don’t have any widgets to test it with.

2 Replies to “Some thoughts on finishing a painting”

  1. I showed Praenomen and this work to a well-established art-teacher, one who is a self-supported professional. She sells quite a bit.
    Her first reaction was to make a singular comment: “This guy knows what he is doing”. Afterwards she mention lingo that went over my head. She explained something about incredibly good use of color etc. Judging by your posts you’re a busy guy. But I know this: In a perfect world you should/would be painting … constantly!

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