Is it ever really finished?

Is it ever really finished? This is not a question I’ve had to ask myself until recently. When creating reduction linocuts, at some point you simply do not have any more linoleum to carve away and so the answer is yes, you are finished.

Delighting in an open-ended medium

My recent foray into monoprint collages has allowed me for the first time to decide that something was not finished. This occurred last week, as I was about to post the remaining monoprint collages based on my Voronoi diagram drawing. Here’s the finished monoprint collage, Galaxy Next Door.

Square collage with geometric shapes
© Elizabeth Busey. Galaxy Next Door. Monoprint collage (unique), 12 x 12in.

A rare side-by-side comparison

Here’s is a side-by-side comparison of the before and after images.


Why was it not finished? I tried answering this as I worked and added to the collage, and I couldn’t immediate articulate my perceptions. Obviously I couldn’t look at them side-by-side as I can now. Now my impression is that the earlier state didn’t encourage my eyes to move throughout the work. I got stuck, and felt “meh…” Rhythm and contrast were improved in the final version.

Detail of Galaxy Next Door

Celebrating imperfection

Finally, adding more elements allowed me to highlight certain areas that have clear brayer marks. I should explain to the non-printmakers that much of the printmaking world doesn’t want to see brayer (roller) or lap marks in the printed work. When I created the initial monoprint for this collage, I used small brayers to apply two colors of blue, and then work in white. You can see the hard edges of my brayer in some areas, and the marks left by the tape on the brayer in others. Because these are not covering the entire work, they become more pronounced and unique.

Is it every really finished? An artist must certainly strike a balance between wanting to have a work be truly complete, and moving on to the next work. For now, Galaxy Next Door is finished…


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