OK, I have to stop obsessing. I heard the novelist Ann Patchett speak on NPR. She said she finishes a novel, holds on to it for three weeks, delivers it to her publisher, then never reads it again, and never worries about it again. In some ways I am like Patchett, but today I find myself much like the great English painter Joseph William Mallord Turner. I feel as Turner felt immediately upon delivering a work to exhibition. Turner was said to have worked on minor enhancements of his paintings at the openings of his exhibitions. In other words, when Turner viewed his "finished" paintings he knew they were never done and could always be improved; Turner always found problems which could be corrected. Today I am wondering why Turner and I sometimes share this inability to let go. "Window" will never be satisfactorily complete. I now think I understand. Turner's work, and my painting, "Window," are atmospheric paintings. The nuances of atmospheric images are subtle and complex, so much so that comprehending them is an endless game of give and take.
Today I show you the final version of "Window," with my signature found near the upper left. I do not like this reproduction, and again ask you to view art "in person." After "Window" I show JWM Turner's great masterpiece, an image of the Houses of Parliament burning in 1834. You can see the reason the French Impressionists loved Turner's work. It is all atmosphere and immediacy—what could be more immediate than a burning building? To finish this discussion I leave you with an image of a wonderful atmospheric painting by Claude Monet, one his many Rouen Cathedral studies. Monet found a way to make an atmospheric painting quickly, without worries over the perfect finish, which negates my claim that it is the atmospheric element which invites unending revisions. Maybe it is the desire to tell an story, in which atmosphere is an important ingredient, which makes "Window," and "The Burning of the Houses of Parliament," paintings with no endings. BTW: I prefer the Turner to the Monet.
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