How to Know When You’ve Arrived

How do you know when you’re finished? Sometimes it’s very obvious. Sometimes it’s an intuition. Or sometimes you simply don’t know! Here are some guidelines to help answer when you’re stuck.

The Big Questions
Were you the director? Or did the piece direct you?
Does your piece do what you want it to do?
Does your piece do what it was intended to do?

Viewer Clarity
What leads the viewer’s eye? Does it have an area of interest? A star?
(Could have more contrast, detail, etc. than other areas)
Do you have a definite foreground, middle ground, background?
Are there a variety of masses of unequal sizes?

Rhythm and movement
Is the arrangement dynamic or static?
Are all the elements and shapes designed well? Elegant or awkward?
Do the elements have gesture?

Does your piece have interesting texture?
Is it cohesive or is one part different and sticks out?
Marks of a variety of scale? (Different brushes)
Does that texture support or detract?

Are all edges the same? Hard vs. soft
What is happening where one form meets another?
Is there a vibration of color there?
Do the edges help explain the atmosphere/mood?
What happens when a shadow meets the light?
Do the edges help explain the space between things?

Unresolved areas
Which areas have issues?
Tangencies, technical mistakes/inaccuracies, imbalance; what doesn’t belong or fit?
Do areas feel like they are painted differently? What is the common thread throughout?

Does it look done? (simple but effective)
Does your work look finished?
Does it have the right amount of polish? Or does it look too slick?
Is it messy? Are you a messy painter?

Finishing Options

Throw it away! Yes, I do that!
Sign it, call it good, frame it up!!
Leave it alone and readdress it later with fresh eyes.
Put it where you can catch a glance of it.
Put it away, so you don’t have to look at it!
Completely re-work it; make it into a new piece! Do a 180 degree turn!

With Warmest Regards,

Painting Minilessons
with Marla Baggetta

My free online minilessons in art are a fantastic way to learn more about your craft, regardless of your skill level. There are lessons available on everything from basic drawing techniques to complex painting methods, and no matter what your interests are, you’re sure to find something that appeals to you. Whether you’re a beginner who’s just starting out, or a seasoned artist who wants to brush up on your skills, these minilessons are a great resource. These lessons are available anytime, anywhere. So whether you’re looking for a quick refresher or want to explore something new, be sure to check out some of my minilessons at Painting Lessons with Marla.

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