The unfinished allure of underpainting

Since the beginning of this painting adventure that began in 2014, I've shared photos of paintings in progress.  Some of those shots of unfinished pieces get a whole lot of attention.  I'm undecided if it's the actual work, or the subject, that inspires the reactions.  Perhaps it's a little of both. 

It is rare that a whole canvas gets done with underpainting, to the point that at a glance, one might think it is done.  The one recent example that comes to mind was when I was doing a live painting in support of our friend Jina Burn at the Multicultural Expo.  Bobby Fischer looked ostensibly done.

I hemmed and hawed about whether to add some contrasting colour, but did so in the end because it felt unfinished to me.

I'm at a similar point with a new portrait of Johnny Cash.  I posted a photo of the underpainting yesterday evening.  No less than five people have enquired about potentially buying it.  The question I have to ask myself is: are they wanting to buy it as is, or as it will be? 

At the end of the day, the only person who can determine whether the painting is done, or not, is looking back at me in the mirror.  I'm on the fence with this one.


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