Monday, March 19, 2012


"Major"  (pastel, 7x5 inches)   sold

This one has a very roundabout story to the name-picking.

I started Major on Friday at the Artscape art fair in Dallas. But I wasn't really in the mood that day to paint, so I quickly just got down a few basic values and colors to show that I was 'working' on it, and left it sitting out with my pastel box as I like to do, to show people what pastels are and how they work. Besides the lines of the drawing, I had a couple of darks in the coat, some blue shadow and yellow and ivory lights on the face, a hint of red on the ears, nose and neck, and 2 swatches of green background color.

Well, a lady comes by in the afternoon and asks if I would sell this one, pointing at my unfinished cow.
"Well, yes, when it's finished" says I.
"No, just like it is. I like that look. It looks finished!"

I was so caught off guard that I completely fumbled the rest of the conversation. I don't even remember exactly what I said, but she went away, and I was left with this unfinished (?) cow. Even had I been in the mood to finish it that day, I was now set adrift in a sea of uncertainty. I also liked how it looked at that point, and this was confirmed by a few other artist friends who I shared the conversation with. They all agreed that it could be finished.

With another friend I confessed that I did like it just how it was, but was unsure if I could pull off such a great change in my style after having attracted a following with my current series in the current style. I would have to make style changes slowly.

He laughed and said "Just start a new series; call this 'Unfinished Cow #1'"
I laughed. But I kept thinking.

Well, I couldn't bring myself to touch it all weekend But I decided that it did need to be finished to a point that was closer to my current work, so I did that today, and here it is. I am happy. I was able to keep a degree of looseness that is one step closer to that "unfinished" cow (which, unfortunately, I neglected to get a photo of!)

So when it came time to name this one, I wondered if I could find out what 'unfinished' means in another language. With some Google searches, I found out from one site that "unfinished' in Japanese is 未完 but it didn't show how it was pronounced; on searching for this, another site it had it as Chinese, pronounced mei jyun (not yet complete), which immediately made me think 'major', and it clicked as suiting this cow just perfectly!

But I can still consider it my own personal joke about the Unfinished Cow.

Major will be with me at the Bayou City Art Fest in Houston this weekend.


  1. Thanks for sharing your thought processes in designing this piece. It adds a richer appreciation when taking it in. Love the results!

  2. I feel sad for the woman who didn't get the 'unfinished' painting! But Major turned out beautifully. I love the series.