How do you know when a work of art is complete?
The following quote is attributed to Leonardo da Vinci: "L'arte non è mai finita, solo abbandonata." or, Art is never finished, only abandoned. I agree with the statement wholeheartedly. When working on a piece, the artist reaches a stopping point. This does not mean it is finished or complete. Sometimes they overwork it and become disenchanted. They may break it at a critical juncture. It may be put away because the artist becomes bored. If it is a commissioned work, the client may be satisfied but, creative people always questions themselves about their work. What could I have done to make it better?
Once when I was asked to decorate a large office. I interviewed the clients about their likes and dislikes. Primarily, they disliked the prices that were quoted by interior decorators. I asked the manager and his assistant to accompany me to a local frame shop that had an abundance of numbered prints for sale. After we looked at several items, I told them I had an idea what would work in the office and that I could meet their expectations. They gave me the commission. I then negotiated with the shop owner on framing and matting. I selected several prints for the office. Over the next few weeks, I purchased and hung several pieces. However, the assistant manager posed another problem. His tastes were nautical. He had recently purchased a sixty-five-foot Cape Hatteras yacht. In desperation, I asked him for a photo of the boat. From the photo’s I did a watercolor study. My plan was to make an acrylic painting to hang in his office. When I took the watercolor to share my painting idea, He pulled out his wallet and handed me his credit card. He wanted the watercolor and asked me to have it matted and framed to match his office décor. The actual painting was never started or finished. However, he was more than satisfied and I was adequately compensated.