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When do you know when an art work is finished?

… I often find that the more I look at something I’ve drawn or painted, the more small things I’ll find that I’m not quite happy with, and I’ll keep altering and tweaking, which is fine up to a point, but I can end up ruining it.’

I know that feeling very well.

With this piece I decided to stop well before I normally would, because I could already see I had produced exactly what I was aiming for, with very few strokes of acrylics.  For a moment I felt I needed to add more paint.  Surely I was cheating the canvas if I didn’t give it its fair share of pigment.  I know if I had continued I would have formed a stronger, more powerful image, but I wanted the painting to be as gentle as the moving sea I was trying to capture…so I stopped.  I think I made the right choice on this occasion as I watch the water trickling to reach the edge of the incoming tide.

Update – preparing to take the painting to the framers, I decided it wasn’t finished after all.  I took up my oils.  This is now a mixed media painting.  I wanted to settle the trickle, so added a few rocks and to my utter surprise and amazement, I found a rock pool appear.  They call these things happy accidents.  As I used the palette knife to carve some stones with oil paint, the sea trickled into a pretty little pool.  Now…now is the time to stop!


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