There is a problem that artists have, a problem that I have had, and a problem Leonardo da Vinci had in abundance. That is, working on some project for quite a while, sometimes to where everyone else likes it, and then feeling dissatisfied with it oneself and moving on, but without considering it to be completed. Leonardo would sometimes keep a painting he was working on in his studio for decades without releasing it to whomever it was intended for. He could get away with such delays because the things he did complete were so very good that his customers would be willing to wait, sometimes forever. A giant bronze horse that he designed was never cast but it was recently, some five hundred years later, “restored” from Leonardo’s drawings. His paintings were and still are valuable, and the Salvator Mundi recently sold for $453,000,000. There’s no mistake on the number of zeros!

Leonardo daVinci Salvator Mundi c1500 "restored" Charles Scamahorn

Leonardo da Vinci, Salvator Mundi c1500, “restored” by Charles Scamahorn

I worked on digitally restoring this painting by Leonardo da Vinci sixty-six times, which I know because I begin projects of this type with a file name ending with 01. He didn’t consider it done and neither do I because when I zoom in on it I can find an infinity of things that can be corrected. And yet, it looks really good, as it is, at this size. Aside from the centuries of unavoidable abuse and natural withering of materials, which I have attempted to correct, the painting has apparently been voluntarily abused by being reframed many times with many of the frames being smaller than the previous ones.

The original painting, in its present condition, has Jesus’ left thumb snipped off and his fingers’ knuckles were also slightly truncated. The sleeve on his right arm was snipped off too. I “restored” those and added some black area around the figure and added some clothing in shadows at the bottom. That gives the figure some space to exist within that probably existed in the original painting. Those things are obviously in need of fixing, but most of the other stuff I fixed is just as bad but more difficult to describe in words.

I could keep working on this painting until I die and never be satisfied with what I had done, but I willfully choose to terminate the project for the time being and say that it is done. What “done” means in this context is done for the moment and it is displayed here where you can look at it. I might return later and make it a little better by my standards, but there are other things I want to do and I don’t want this impossible project to compete with my other projects and prevent me from finishing them.

By getting a thing done … my mind, emotions, time and other resources are available to get other things done. I am involved in some projects where there is incessant dithering by my companions, and that style of action leads to a degrading of anything interesting and eventual collapse of the venture. I am pressing to get those things into a done condition.

Getting things done in physical reality is the only thing that is useful.