How do I know when a painting is finished?

Rosy’s Outlook: Lake Michigan Dunes in Health Pointes Private Collection.

How do I know when a painting is finished?

I go with my gut.  I step back one or two final times to see what minor tweaks need to be made before I sign my name and put my brush down.  Over many, many years of practice, hard work and dedication you develop a style which helps to “know” when the painting is finished.  For me personally, the paintings that take less time tends to be my best works.  They start off great and the process seems to flow easily.  Within the first half hour of a painting, I know if it’s going to be a challenge or be a satisfying painting in the end.  Sometimes when the painting just isn’t going right, I put the painting aside.  It might sit there for months before I decide to proceed or I’ll just scratch the whole thing and start over.

Over the next several hours of creating a painting I continually step back and analyze the composition.  I make sure my colors are well-balanced, my lights pop from my brighter, bolder colors.  I just “know” when it’s finished.  More time working on a painting doesn’t necessarily mean a better painting.  If I work too long on a painting, for me it means I had compositional problems which I  tend to work and rework.  My best paintings are the works that flowed smoothly through the entire process.

When purchasing a piece of art, purchase it because you love the piece.  You love the artist’s style.  And because it resonates with you.  The amount of time spent on a painting doesn’t always mean a better painting.




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