How To Know When A Painting Is Finished (Letting Go Of Perfectionism)

My students often ask me how to know when their painting is finished. I believe that a painting is finished when continuing to add to it begins to take away from the painting as a whole.

Overworking a painting can be a huge problem. Sometimes, the root of that problem is perfectionism.  After thirty-eight years of teaching, I’ve seen my students struggle with perfectionism. Early on in my artistic journey, I struggled with it myself.  When I read the following quote, my thinking was transformed.  I was transformed.

“Being a perfectionist is not about being the best we can be, it’s actually going about to prove that nothing we ever do is good enough.  It’s listening to the voice from within or (maybe a voice from the past) that says, “You’re doing it all wrong.  So, you do it over and over again until you ‘get it right’ and ultimately, you never do and thus you’re never satisfied.  You have only proven that nothing you ever do is good enough.” - Author Unknown

Striving for excellence in art requires desire and a lot of it.  It entails learning, practice, patience, and acceptance. It’s about expressing yourself using your God given talent, having fun while doing it, and discovering how to be able to put the brush down after your last stroke, exhale, and smile while saying, “It is finished.”

Remember, a painting can have a thousand different endings.  You just have to give it one.  Save all the other things you want to express for your next work of art. Happy Painting! - Jill Saur