Just Finished: A painting sold over a year ago

by Alden Cole on May 6, 2014 · 0 comments

Last Load, oil on linen, 17.5″ x 35.5″ • started March 31, 2012; sold January 21, 2013; finished May 4, 2014 • collection of Liam Braber and Melissa Puterka-Braber

8100WPIf you took note of the ‘started, sold, and finished’ dates listed above, you can see that there’s a story there. How did a painting that was begun two years ago, purchased a year ago, wind up getting finished just three days ago? Well, when I started the painting in the spring of 2012, like many paintings done with oils, I needed to let it dry thoroughly after the initial sessions before going on with it. Only problem, I never got around to reworking it. I did live with it on my walls however, which is where my friend Liam saw it when he visited me in January 2013 looking for a birthday present for his wife Missy. He saw that particular painting and that was the one he wanted to buy. And despite my protests that there was more I intended to do with it, he convinced me that, since I hadn’t made those changes in the nine months since starting it, I should sell the painting to him as it was. Money Talks! Sometime after we had sealed our deal, and the painting had moved the three blocks from my house to theirs, it was noted that there was no signature on the piece. I jestingly brought up my original disclaimer: “There, you see, I didn’t sign it because it wasn’t finished.” They also inquired about varnishing, so I agreed to take the painting back, to sign, then varnish it. That transfer back to me didn’t happen until February (or was it January?) with the comment from both of them that if I wanted to go on with the painting to bring it closer to my original intention I was free to do that. I responded that it might take some time to accomplish this, and they agreed to ‘whenever.’ So for the past number of weeks I have stared repeatedly at this painting, day in, day out; it has sat on the easel untouched; it’s been moved occasionally to the floor to make way for other pieces; it’s been moved to the wall opposite my reading chair where I can stare at it, virtually willing it to paint itself (without success). How many times did I set it up on the easel in preparation for getting to work? and how many times has it been moved aside while I worked on something else. Well the brushes finally got their workout Sunday morning, and once started there was no turning back. By early afternoon the transformation had taken place. I photographed it and emailed a copy to both Liam and Missy: “Have I gone too far? or not far enough?” to which Liam responded “Whoa! I love it!” Time to stop. Now a Done Deal! On to the next…

And tomorrow I’ll get back to Life of Alden. my ongoing autobiography, taking a look at my New York days in the early 70s.

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