The Unfinished Canvas

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Wandering through Tate Britain the other day, I was struck by this painting. I wanted to walk right into it and let the tall grass brush through my fingers. “Why this painting?” I wondered. I found my answer in the notes: it was unfinished. I think that’s part of what makes it so immediate and lively. “Farm near Auvers” is among the handful of works painted in the month before Vincent van Gogh died. He told his sister that he loved this imperfect jumble of dilapidated farm buildings with their “roofs of mossy thatch.” And because it’s unfinished, the painting gives us an inside look into the creative process. What remained to be done in the eyes of the artist? We’ll never know, but we do know that the painting is also beautiful now. How many times do we hold back because we think our work isn’t ready or perfect? Maybe we should learn from this beautiful and brilliant painting that the work is already good enough. What might you let go into the world today?

MJ Grant