A sweet blog friend recently left comment on one of my series posts that really gave me pause to think about finished art vs. unfinished art. She said that the post had really made her think about stops and starts on art pieces she was working on, asking herself if she had to finish everything or is it OK to put a piece away when she is no longer having fun with it. I truly think that not everything we set our hands to needs to be a finished piece of art. A huge part of the artistic process is experimentation. You need to give yourself permission to play without the pressure of creating a finished piece. I hope I did not give the wrong impression that everything needs to be brought to completion. I was just sharing my point of view on reaching a particular set of goals.
I also think art making should be a balance of fun and work based on your personal goals. Are you making something for discovery, trying a technique, or for the pure pleasure of creating? Then these might not be things that get to the finished stage. However, if your goal is for profit, publication, or public presentation (like a galley show) then yes, there is going to need a completion process.
I totally advocate what I call "piddling projects", like a quilt top, a stitchery piece, an afghan, scrapbooking, an art or inspiration journal, etc. something that you can pick up and put down at mood or will. These types of projects are also something you can work on in between ideas or use as relaxation time. Most artist need a lot of variety and I for one suffer from too many ideas and too little time to execute them, that is probably why I have so many unfinished things going at once. By all means make the artistic process fun and filled with enough interest to keep your creative juices flowing.
I have been known to put projects aside that were beginning to frustrate me or that I was losing interest in. Sometimes I go back to them and sometimes I don't. The art making process is a completely individual and personal pursuit. Most of what I term as my "unfinished or experimental art" that will never develop into full finished projects are based on trial and error, developing or mastering a technique, working out a new idea, or learning a new skill. Just this week I have indulged in three such exercises.
I had some leftover paint on my palette that I did not want to go to waste so I pulled out my art journal and smooshed the excess around on a few pages. These might be used as backgrounds for future journal pages or torn out and used in a collage, or they may just be what they are...paint smooshed pages.
I have an idea for a new book art project but I wanted to experiment with some different binding techniques to see which one would be a good fit so I grabbed some scrap papers and bound away. I ended up with three little books that will never be used for anything other than to help me decide on the binding technique I want to use.
Lastly I had an idea for a little garment project that I have been wanting to try. This is purely for experimentation purposes. Most of these types of things never make it onto my blog and most of them I don't count worthy of mention, this is just a part of how I learn and grow my skills.(And how I end up with a drawer full of unfinished stuff ;c)
For me, what it all boils down to is that I see a purpose in having both finished and unfinished projects as part of my own personal process. What are your thoughts? Is it OK to put a piece away when it no longer becomes fun or do have to finish everything you start?
I hope you all enjoy a beauty filled weekend!