When is a painting finished?

Koda, 20" x 26", mixed media on watercolor paper

comparison koda.jpg

When is a painting finished? That is a very interesting concept. It is not always easy to know when to stop but you realize after the fact if you have overworked a piece. It is an education. The more paintings I create, the easier it is to know when a painting is finished. Taking photos along the way to look back on, is a great habit to get into. 

Sometimes while painting a picture, I find there are multiple directions I can take it. That is what happened here.

My painting process is a flexible one that allows for the painting to emerge. As you can see with the picture on the left, I bring about surprises and options in the early stages, and the painting dreamily defines the dog and background. I love how the two planes flow in and out.

With commission pieces, as this one is, the client receives photos as the painting is being created. Upon seeing the image on the left, the client asked for a more defined separation of the background from the subject. This is where the painting goes in another direction, see the picture on the right. I love how there is an interesting pattern of leaves in the background that contrasts with the vertical lines and large resting areas in the dog. With a few more highlights, this will be finished.   

Both of the stages above are amazing in their own right and I love how my style gives me the options I need to explore the piece. It is like walking down a branching path where your destination is undefined and enjoyment comes from the many wonderful sites along the way.