I am staring at my incomplete painting; merely a juxtaposition of colours – light green, blue, dark green and violet, painted next to each other obliquely across the canvas. It looks very trivial, very ordinary. But I can’t bring myself to work on it any further. The simplicity with which the colours melt into each other yet stand apart is too soothing to be betrayed by an object. Yet I wonder if I should leave it. I should probably not call it incomplete, since it’s only complement is an image merely in my thoughts.
Orson Welles said, “If you want a happy ending that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.” It’s that with paintings too. Maybe anything we have a choice over. When do I call it a finishing stroke on the canvas, how much pepper do I sprinkle in my pot, when do I put the last period in my blog, when do I kiss good bye to a crumbling friendship. Sometimes the science geek in me wishes life could be modeled by a mathematical function. I would make pretty graphs in Excel and stop at the optima, never unsure of how far to go and when to stop.
But that would deprive life of its vigor – the trauma of over-reaching, the anxiety of pushing forward, and on some lucky moments the tranquility of hitting just the right note. How, otherwise, will I learn to let my imagination go wild, to resist temptations, to conquer my fears, get over disappointments, appreciate the beauty of taking things slow or enjoy the rush of spontaneity? How else will I marvel at the wholeness of incomplete paintings?