How to know when a painting is finished?
The picture is not finished until
the original idea has been completely extinguished.
One of the most frequent questions I encounter in workshops is how to know when a painting is finished. The answer is subjective since painting something abstract has no end. You have to know how to stop. There is a point where if we continue we lose everything. Less is more and sometimes a picture needs less than we think to be complete.
Painting two or more paintings at the same time is very useful for me to discover what or how I can solve differently and alternately in each one. Let the piece rest and do not saturate it too much. Removing is part of my process and sometimes when we take the piece farther than we wanted, going back a few steps helps to have a complete more solid, deep and clean.
There are two things that work for me to know when to end:
- Zoom into the box. When I truly approach, I find a microcosm that allows me to contemplate a whole range of subtle details that invite me to have an intimate dialogue with the work.
- Get away from him a few meters. There I find a different reading, I see the complete cosmos of the work and its visual discourse. They are two opposing positions that mix and complement each other. The micro and macro cosmos of a work.
I end when I put the last element; be it a line, an incision, a brand, something that visually stands out and that is above everything else. That is my final "statement" and I do not return.
The details of the banks are very important to me. A finished piece is a complete piece that integrates even the smallest details. Whether framed or not, the piece has to speak for itself. The quality and invoice of a work make all the difference.
Nobody better than the artist knows when he finished, so trust, hang it, contemplate it and enjoy it.
The piece is finished.