Peony and Parakeet

The Art of Finishing

Dawn of Change, collage painting by Peony and Parakeet

This collage is called Dawn of Change. It is inspired by the history of art. There was a time when I preferred modern art. If I went to an exhibition showing older than 20th century’s art, I used to yawn and think how pretentious it was. But the more I have examined art, the more I see in the old art. I see colors and concepts that can be reproduced in many different angles. Also, seeing good art makes me think of finishing – how much it affects the experience of the viewer.

The Creative Process

Getting inspired about old world art, keeping it visible while creating

When I began to create Dawn of Change, I kept the painting of Giotto di Bondone visible on the table. I did not copy the image; I just kept it as a reminder of what to aim for.

The first layers were painted with watercolors. Then I added some Copic Opaque White to create lighter areas. The white layers were rubbed so that they shined vaguely on the watercolored surface. I also sprayed some Dylusions mists to make the background even foggier.

Creating a background for a collage, by Peony and Parakeet

After a little bit of doodling with colored pencils, black marker, and white gel pen, the background started to show the guidelines for collage pieces.

Adding decorated papers to a collage, by Peony and Parakeet

Then I picked up the box of hand decorated papers and began to attach the paper pieces. In this phase, I always get surprised how well the papers fit the artwork even if they are all different. Creating your own papers will bring you that happiness! Try to avoid using same papers many times in the same artwork. That way the result looks more interesting.

A phase of making a collage, before finishing, by Peony and Parakeet

After a little bit of doodling, I was getting tired and decided to end my session. Even if the composition was accomplished and nothing major decisions left to make, I felt that the work was incomplete. I needed to ponder how I was going to finish it. Over the years I have noticed that finishing does make a difference. In arts and crafts, the finishing rarely alters either the message or the use of the work, but still has a high impact on how appealing we will find it. Sometimes that extra addition of quality will change entirely what we think about it.

Finishing a collage, by Peony and Parakeet

So, if you want to improve your results, get into the habit of taking breaks. I like to have a good night sleep, walk the dogs or work in the garden. Especially physical activities make the subconscious work best. Then, when I grab the thin brush I know exactly what I want to achieve and how to do it.

Finishing Art – Making Subtle Changes

Finishing a collage, by Peony and Parakeet

In this piece, I wanted to increase the impression of the colors fading together. The acrylic paints were the best to accomplish that. I added small strokes of various shades of grays to create a more muted look. Then I also added some pale yellow and off-white to create the fading in lighter areas.

Before and after finishing art. By Peony and Parakeet.

The difference between before and after is not big. When placing the two pictures side by side, you have to search for the differences. But I claim that the overall experience of the quality is better after finishing.

A detail of a collage, created by Peony and Parakeet

So I challenge you to finish your work – even if it already feels finished!

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24 thoughts on “The Art of Finishing

  1. Dreamy! Your work is so absolutely unique….which one cannot say about so many people’s work. Absolutely wonderful, and I learn things from you. Thanks so much!

  2. Thanks for all the inspiration, love your work.
    There is a word for what you experienced in France, by the van Gogh painting. “Stendhal”

  3. I hope that it is okay that I pinned Dawn of Change with a link back to your blog. I loved it so much that I felt compelled to put it where I would see it often.

  4. Beautiful piece. It is so true to my experience that taking a break, getting some physical activity, and returning to the work in progress brings fresh perspective and amps up the creativity.

    1. Thank you, Pat! My husband read an article about the brain activity. They have proved that walking creates much more activity in our heads than sitting!

  5. I had that Stendal experience in front of a Van Gogh “Olive Garden at night” I felt like an addict. I just wanted to stare at it and drink it in. I kept returning to the piece even though I was in a large museum. Nelson-Atkins in KS City.

  6. How wonderful to see a piece like that in real life!, right in front you! ❤️
    Great advice and it does make a huge difference when you fine tune. Your art work is always very nice…

  7. You have such great talent. Your eye for color composition is amazing. Looking at your artwork is such a joy and inspiration.
    Do you have any suggestions on how a beginner can develop your innate color styling? Thank you!

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