Finally, finished. By the way double-clicking makes the image larger. There are about three days' work between this post and the last as I am not posting every single change anymore. For one thing, it got too depressing - I discovered that sometimes I really do work hard all day and make the painting worse. Also I thought the blog was getting too repetitive, that perhaps not everyone could discern the huge changes I thought I was making each day.
Tom and I often have this conversation:
Me (after working all day): do you think I improved it????
Tom: I can't tell what you did.
Keep in mind that Tom is a fabulous artist himself (check out his website!) and often comes into the studio when I have nothing more than an incomprehensible scribble going and says "Wow, that's great!" (In this conversation I say: "All I have is an incomprehensible mess, how can you say it's great?" - by which I mean 'please, please, please tell me it's as great as I think it is' - and he says 'I can tell what you are doing and where you are going with it and it's fabulous') So it is not like he doesn't have an amazing eye but, still, he can't always see the particular brushstroke that I attach so much importance to, so perhaps others can't either.
I worked until I dropped on Saturday: from 1:00 until 7:00. Sunday I worked all day in my garden and by Monday (yesterday) I was stupified with exhaustion. But I felt I just had to get the painting done. There wasn't much left to do at that point, mostly putting in the design on the tablecloth, and I just stumbled through it. I wiped out the whole first hour's work and it didn't get very much better after that but I just muscled through and did what I had to do.
My usual practice is to be well rested for the last day working on a painting so I can take it all in and reach for just a little more. This time I was tired, very tired. I saw all the new doors opening in the painting; heard the sirens sing of new rhythms and avenues to explore and...ignored them. I had a very new thought. Usually I go through those doors: the two hours the last day should take stretch to six. I try to get it all it and I am always left disappointed and empty. My new thought was that maybe if I don't try to play out each possibility but leave the painting in such a state that when I look at it I still hear all those calls and see all those larger possibilities the painting will stay more alive and I will be less disappointed when I'm done. That is either great wisdom or the rationalizing voice of an overworked artist who needs rest. Time will tell.