During college I was working very hard on this painting of a drawbridge. I wanted to get all the details from my photo. I wanted the light and shadow. I wanted the train tracks and the metal beams around them, the wooden underpinnings. I spent a lot of time on that painting. Then one day, I was walking into the studio and the head of the art department called out “Is it art yet?”
It’s funny thinking back to that painting. I did about three bridge paintings with train tracks and they all found homes. I was very proud of them. However, my teacher had a point. How long do you need to work on something before it’s art? The truth is that art can be anything so you can put as little or as much work into the actual product as you want. I don’t mean to get into a discussion of what art is. However, I think it’s important to note that this gives artists a lot of flexibility, to go between abstraction and representational art, between finished and unfinished products. And I think that’s part of what makes art expressive and fun.