Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Charm of the Incomplete

Tied Dyed is an open studio oil 20x10 by Shirley Fachilla.
I intended this post to be about unfinished paintings using as a linked illustration, a specific unfinished work by Berthe Morisot. Despite much looking, I can't find it online. But my search made me realize that much, if not most, of Morisot’s work could be considered quite incomplete.
Please don’t misunderstand. Morisot's paintings are intentionally sketchy with canvas that is uncovered by paint, with lower thirds that dissolve into abstract brushstrokes, or faces and bodies that melt into the background. Morisot meant them to be this way; this is their charm, their resonance. It’s also one of the main reasons the academic establishment so disliked the Impressionists. And its one of Impressionism’s enduring legacies to painters today. Suggestion can be more powerful than polish, the unstated more mysterious and evocative than the explicitly shown.
Biographical note: Morisot was a woman in a man’s world. She was a professional painter when women were supposed to paint as a pastime only and as a painter, she chose to follow the Impressionists, the rebels of their day.
My open studio painting is definitely less finished than my usual for it was done in about half the usual time. But I think I like its sketchiness more than the finish it would have acquired with another two hours of paint!


  1. That title says it all! I love it...

  2. I just found your blog and I absolutely love your paintings. The little landscape is so amazing, the ladies playing cards makes me smile - you have a good eye for composition and colours. I really love your work!

  3. your work is so warmly mysterious and full of life!

  4. Thank you, Christine. The title was quite a happy thought!
    Suzanne, I so appreciate the "mysterious."
    Doris, your watercolors are simply amazing. I'm glad you found me; for now, I've found you!

  5. Très jolie peinture d'une peinture inachevée...
    C'est comme si je pouvais lire plus en profondeur dans l'âme de votre personnage... Belles nuances de tons...
    gros bisous

  6. Beautiful, I love your work,

  7. I read your post with much interest, and I couldn't agree more, Shirley. I think we're all drawn somehow to the mysterious and implied rather than the "spelled out." Much more involvement on the part of the viewer. Love the painting!


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Pieces by (clockwise from left to right) : Susan Harlan, Janet Garner, Shirley Fachilla, Mike Martino and Topper Williams. So many ...