This is one of the most commonly asked questions for artists, but can be one of the most difficult to answer.
How can an artist tell when a painting is completed, and doesn’t need to be worked on anymore?
For myself, this is difficult to answer.
Many times I reach a point where I just know that a painting is finished, and immediately begin working on something else.
At other times, when I return to a painting, I suddenly realize that the painting does not need additional work. I think this is because I’ve had some time to distance myself from the painting before returning to it. At other times, I see something that needs to be changed in a painting I thought was completed. Then there are paintings that I’ve overworked, and wish I’d stopped painting much earlier.
I leave this question for all of you to answer.
Please leave a comment below. For those who do comment, please include your name and artist website. As usual I would like to credit you. I will be posting the best answers to this from Facebook, Linkedin, etc. within this article… below.
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How do YOU know when a painting is finished?
I think that its true maybe that when you distance yourself from it and come back and it looks complete, than it is done. Or if you try to do something else with it and you realize the changes you are making are so minuscule that you cannot really go further.
As I reach the end stages of a painting, I am constantly running back in forth in order to see it from a distance as well as up close. Nothing like a little aerobics with your painting! As for 'taking it too far', I tell my students that the only way to learn when to stop is in fact to take it too far a few times - and so they shouldn't feel badly about that. All part of the learning experience. Cheryl O
Answers from Facebook
ahahaha it's the question of 1000$!!! ...right now i've just understood that when I'm sick of it, i must stop, If I look at it again after a while I can always see something to do or change or add.....if I feel sick again than put away and that's it! never look back! - Sanna Michela
When it's sold. - Jason Gaffney
Answers from Linkedin
As a wildlife artist, photographer, researcher and commercial art designer since 1980, I paint the majority of my wildlife art in watercolors. To me, I think ,I just reach a point in my mind, and with my eyes, that they just tell me, STOP. I spend so much time studying wildlife in their native habitat, that I know when I reach a certain point, to just stop painting. If you’re not careful you can actually overwork a painting, actually add to much to it.
You can see some of my art and photography, at my Jim Turlington Artist page on Facebook (its new), but there are a number of things on it. Also if you want to read a recent article about what I do, go to www.linc.us ,then click on the Blog, to read "Bringing out the Colors of the Backwoods - Jim Turlington".
"...Pictures are never finished in the sense that they suddenly become ready to be signed or framed. They usually come to a halt when the time is ripe, because something happens which breaks the continuity of their development...."
(from Picasso On Art/Ashton, p. 38-39)