Fears and Fancies

“Art is never finished, only abandoned.”
— Leonardo Da Vinci

“A painting is never finished. It simply stops in interesting places.”
— Paul Gardner

One of the many fascinating aspects of this medium is that a collage can never be ruined, but only delayed. Perhaps it is the most forgiving of all art forms. Nevertheless, artists have been thinking about the issue of completion for a very long time, and a vital part of creating a collage is deciding when to quit. We see many examples that appear overworked to the point of exhaustion, or that fall short of a fitting denouement. Whether one considers it abandonment, suspension, or conclusion, the collage artist, like any creative person, must pay attention to a process that leads to the notion of “ahhh… the end.” When does the sculptor lay down the chisel? How does the choreographer know a dance is finished? When does the poet decide to stop revising?

A collage may languish in the working space for days, or even weeks, defying its appointed culmination. With experience, one can recognize the need for postponing a final resolution, and it usually involves matters of both compositional harmony and ingredient quality. While some arrangements follow a natural progression of assembly, others cannot be pushed to premature completion. If a “missing” element eludes the sought-after symbiotic result, one must wait until a solution is clear. In spite of its size, today’s featured miniature is such a case in point. Brought out several times for fresh review and incremental color refinements, it was deemed unfinished until a second egret presented itself. How does one know when a collage is done? For me, the more important consideration is learning how to see that it is not.
 

Fears and Fancies
collage miniature by J A Dixon
4.5 x 4.5 inches
 
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