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The unfinished piece

"The unfinished piece" oil (oilbars, pigment stick, paintstiks) on paper

Unfinished business is usually not something one would want to bring up, let alone brag about. Usually it is hidden from sight, least we are reminded that we "could have, or should have...but haven't". Sometimes unfinished business is better left alone, while other times unfinished business helps us to move to the next step...maybe turning us in a different direction, or helping us see a better way. This piece is one of many unfinished works I have tucked away in my studio. It was started in a demo several years ago, and depicts my youngest daughter, Tammy, who had...and still has...Autism. During the demo, I showed how I developed the composition, explained how to mix, blend, and manipulate one of my all-time favorite medium--oil paint in solid form. Thinking back, I never explained to my audience why I chose this subject to paint. I think now, I can honestly say it's most likely because Tammy's life and mine are very intertwined. Even when I am not physically with Tammy, much of my life is built around her...managing her work programs, advocating for supports, and just managing everyday life.

Looking at this piece with more mature eyes, I'm not sure I want to "finish" it. I love the freshness, looseness and lack of detail in the lower half of the painting. Maybe I'm just reminiscing a time now 25-year-old daughter used to love playing with sand. She would play for hours and hours...mixing water with the soft granules, pouring the muddy mess out in pie pans and squishing the cool, dimi-liquid substance with her stubby little hands. Not unlike myself playing with clay, she was immersed in her activity, totally focusing on the texture, chemistry and sensory experience. The swimsuit, bucket and shovel were part of her summer attire. This "unfinished portrait reminds me of Tammy's joy...and my joy. It reminds me that the "process", the "learning" the "experience" is more important than the outcome. Kinda a little like life...huh?

Need some info on Autism? Here are a few sites you might like.

Thinking of something you want created especially for you? For commissions, pricing or info on art or want to learn more about color? Contact me directly: check out my Facebook page: Bjartworks-Art by Bjlane

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