How does one start a new painting - and why? That is indeed a good question; the "why" is fairly easy to answer: either you have seen or experienced something that is churning around in your mind demanding to be expressed in the best way you can - or at other times you are simply itching to get into the studio and start messing around with paint with maybe just a vague idea of what you want to achieve. The "how" is a bit harder to explain and I expect that there will be as many ways as there are individual artists, and that each and everyone of us have had to clear that hurdle by trying out a number of ways over the years; at least I have and still do.
I think that it is especially hard in abstract art where you don't have a subject to guide you - the challenge of staring at the blank canvas and thinking: how on earth do I start?? Finally you gather enough courage to make the first mark - and from then on it gets a bit easier as one mark leads to the next although the challenge remains and that really is what drives you along.
Above is two examples of my latest - and just finished work: at the very beginning and in midflight. And below is the final result:
It is 24" x 44" in size and doesn't have a title yet. It has gone through many different stages over the last four weeks when I thought that it was finished - till the next day's realization that it still wasn't quite right: something was still bothering me.
That is the next question and also a difficult one: when is an abstract painting finished? One of the abstract expressionists at one point said that: "an abstract painting is never quite finished - it just stops in interesting places"; I can't remember who it was for sure, but possibly De Koening? I guess that again it is an individual matter, but for myself I can say that I usually know when to stop - when nothing more is irritating me so that it looses its grip on me.
While at the same time wondering if I should have stopped at an earlier stage? It is never easy!