I'm still not satisfied with this painting.  I thought it was finished, left it, moved on to some new work.  I happened to see the painting in a different light the other day.  Alas, I don't like it as is.  Therefore, I'm working on it again.

The age old question is, how do you determine when an artwork is finished?  My answer is rather vague:  I just know.  Usually.  Sometimes what constitutes "finished" can change for me, as evidenced by this painting.

I posted the work in previous stages here and here.


Jann Gougeon said...

I know that thought very well. :-)

Pete Hoge said...

if it is ready to be seen
by another person.

even if we think it is not
finished, it might be
ready for a public viewing.

Stacey Cornelius said...

This might sound a little woo-woo, but it will tell you. Just as it does when you know it's not quite there. Hard to define, but you can feel it in your gut.

stephanie clayton said...

I know what you mean. Your answer is similar to mine: You kind of just know. It is a gut feeling.
The more one paints, the easier it gets to tell when a work is finished, I've found.
Of course, the problem I encountered with this painting, is I changed my mind about what constitutes "finished". So it's back to the drawing board, so to speak.

stephanie clayton said...

It's a universal feeling that we encounter as artists, isn't it? That "on second thought, the painting needs reworking" feelng!

I think an artist and the painting are ultimately the determiners of when a work is ready to be seen, however I once read how Monet (or was it Cezanne?) thought nothing of dabbling with a painting even during its exhibit! I believe this was Cezanne...if my memory serves me correctly; he was a bit of a perfectionist, as I recall.

Michele Fraichard said...

Not going to just let it bother? I'm looking forward to seeing the metamorphosis.

Stephanie Hoff Clayton said...

I'm compelled to finish the painting soon. I know what's "wrong" with it, so just a matter of completing another work first. (I only have one heating palette, so one painting at a time for now.)

Miki Ohno said...

I completely agree that there is a solid criterion of "right" or "wrong" for the artist. I think we can either start or complete works because of such a conviction. However perfect your works look as they are, it is interesting to see the modification and know what you felt wrong.

Stephanie Hoff Clayton said...


There are the same certain things that- if they happen to appear in my work- will surely be "wrong" to me. I always strive to avoid or eliminate these perceived wrongs.

The subject of why we start or complete works of art is a good one. Yes, we want to express a thought or concept visually but there's always more to it, isn't there? I'm glad you touched on that subject. It would make a great discussion- I'll have to remember that!

Debu Barve said...

Dear Stephanie,

I see quite a 'happening' on your end. I (almost)enjoy this painful state where painting looks not so much complete at a time and evokes the restlessness from that point.
i read a nice quote by artist Hans Hofmann which says "To me work is finished when all parts involved communicate themselves, so that they don't need me"

Best wishes!

Debu Barve said...

Oops! My apologies, this is a March post, it surfaced just now from archive and I instantly posted a comment assuming that it is current. But Hofmann’s quote is still interesting and timeless. :)

Stephanie Hoff Clayton said...


No apology necessary! I'm glad for your comments. I agree with you about that "painful state" and restlessness. It's what compels us to "resolve" the painting.
I love that Hans Hoffman quote- had not seen it before. Thanks.