Sunday, January 25, 2009

Unfinished business

A few blogs ago, I mentioned I found a dozen unfinished pieces of art as I was cleaning and reorganizing my studio. Well, I’ve done some more cleaning and in the sprit of accuracy and full disclosure, I need to make a correction to that figure. There aren’t a dozen unfinished pieces. There are SIXTEEN!

Holy Cow! Shame on me! How does this happen? Is it a result of my propensity toward procrastination? I don’t think so. That usually indicates a tendency to put things off and delay starting a new project. In this case, it’s not that I didn’t start any paintings. I just didn’t finish them all.

If I ask my wife why it is that I have so many unfinished pieces, she will probably advise me to get up out of my easy chair and STOP. WATCHING. FOOTBALL. Of late, my love of all things football has kept me glued to the television each Sunday and Monday. But, realistically, football shouldn’t shoulder all the blame. The regular season lasts only 16 weeks, and seldom do the Vikings go to the post season. I do watch playoffs but not with such intensity and enthusiasm once my team is out of the race. Besides that, a reasonable person might ask what I was doing the rest of the week (Tuesday through Saturday) during the football season?

Procrastination. Excuses. Did you know that there are 27,916 results at Amazon.com when searching for books about procrastination? You didn’t? Not to mention (ok, I will) 14,633 results for “getting things done.” For crying out loud, there are entire websites dedicated to excuses to skip work! Perhaps if I hadn’t spent this time searching the web I might have had a few additional minutes to put brush to canvas! I think Ben Franklin said it best: “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”

With ol’ Ben in mind, I’ve now started the ball rolling to finish what I’ve begun. Or, at least to make conscious choices about these 15 pieces that will decide their fate. (And, I don’t mean that I will simply move them to another room!) This past weekend:


  1. I made a list of all 16 unfinished pieces and hung it on the wall in plain site.

  2. I carefully examined the condition of each canvas and concluded that 2 needed to be restretched and restarted. And then there were 14. (You see, that decision catapulted these two into a different category: New Art.)

  3. One more bit the dust when I looked it over and asked myself, “Why in the world did I do this one?” I threw it away. And then there were 13.

  4. I finished 2 pieces. And now there are 11.


Wow! That’s 32% of my unfinished art taken care of in one weekend. At this pace, the remaining pieces will be dealt with in no time at all.

Focus, Dennis. Focus.

2 comments:

Mike said...

Norman Rockwell may have said, 'put a puppy in it.' But Dennis Sterner should have said, 'put it in a list!' You are the king of lists! Keep on it, that's quite a list. I have many more to add onto the list, too... Should you run out.

Laura said...

just curious... on your "next 25 list" what is snow board mt? sounds interesting...