I wrote a version of this post on the bus about 4 weeks ago and WordPress Mobile ate it when I tried to post it. Well, I’m on the bus again, writing in Evernote. I’ll post it later.

Late last year I finished a piece called “Jazz” and really enjoyed playing with the shape colour & texture in the piece. I especially enjoyed being surprised by the people who showed up in it.

“Jazz” 26x32in oil on canvas. © 2014 JayB

In mid February this year, I started a painting that immediately became a musical piece with the same feel as Jazz. I don’t remember if it was intentional, but the style was there right from the start.

Work in progress- Day One
Work in progress- Day One

After the quick start, we had a road trip to Florida for work and I didn’t get much work done on it until mid March. By the last week in March, I felt it was done.


Work In Progress
Work In Progress – Finished? Hmmm.


On the easel in the studio, I was really happy with it. Lots of movement, good colour and pretty balanced. So, I tweeted out “yay it’s done” our something similar. But I knew it needed to go on the Mantle of Contemplation.

So what’s that? Well, really, it’s just the mantle over our fake fireplace in our condo. But it’s in a real life setting, with real lighting. I put all my finished(?) Works here for a few days, or longer, to see how they sit with me out of the studio setting.

The Mantle of Contemplation
The Mantle of Contemplation

In this case I decided to hang the new painting alongside Jazz, to see how it compared.

The Mantle
The Mantle of Contemplation. “Jazz” and Work in Progress


And right away I saw there were problems. The piece was flat, too monotone and lacking the brushwork I really liked in Jazz .

Jazz - Detail
Jazz – Detail


So, despite being really happy with it in the studio, it clearly needed more work.

I worked on it for a couple more days, probably no more that 6-8 hours in total. And what a difference. -Now- it was finished – except for one more visit to the Mantle of Contemplation, because you just never know. But after living with it for a couple of days, I knew it was done. And from my perspective, it’s even more successful than Jazz.

The Vocalist
“The Vocalist” 20x26in oil on canvas © 2015 JayB

I guess the moral of the story is that everyone should have a place to objectively look at a new work. Does it work under normal room lighting? Do any flaws in technique show up? most importantly, how does it work in a home as a piece of art?


At least 50% or more of my work initially gets rejected by the Mantle of Contemplation. And they’re better works for it.


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