How many times have you been thrilled with the progress of your painting, just to slowly realize the more you paint, the more unhappy you are with it?

You feel directionless, but you're compelled to keep slapping paint on the canvas. Your brush is thick with paint, the color is getting muddy, your palette is full but you don’t want to clean it because you THINK you’re almost done, and you aren't sure what needs your attention most.

Does this sound familiar? Well, you are not alone. But there's good news. My simple plan for finishing a painting can help you stop overworking your painting and acheive a well-executed loose and expressive painting.

The key to not overworking your painting is to know and trust this process for finishing your painting, be aware of the red flags, and learn to assess your process in time.

You may be wondering, "But Jen, what if I don’t even know the process?" 

I’m so glad you asked. ;) I want to share my process with you, so you can also find confidence in knowing how to proceed right through the finishing strokes of your painting. Here are my three steps to know when your painting is finished:

Set your sights on the goal.

Before you even begin, envision HOW you’d like your painting to look when it’s complete. Is it loose and expressive? Is it rendered and classical? Is it dark and moody or bright and happy? Beginning with the end in mind will help you know when you're wandering off course, so you can make a correction before it's too late.

Resist the urge to paint over something that’s already good.  

We've all been there. You're feeling good about something you've painted, but just have that urge to tweak a little something here, and something else over there. And before you know it that thing that was good is now...well, not sot good. 

Resist that urge!

I go over this more in depth in my FREE painting guide called, “3 Must-Know Tips for Painters.” It’s a very helpful tool for artists who wrestle with questions like, “where do I start my painting?” and “How do I stay loose?” And “When is my painting finished?”

Sit back and assess.

A common mistake when trying to finish a painting is getting caught up in the weeds and the details. It’s the icing on the cake and, let’s face it, super rewarding! But it’s ultimately very important to step back and get a bird’s-eye view of your painting.

This is also the appropriate time to SLOW DOWN. Look at your reference often, and stand back. This is not the time for painting fast and furious. You want to be deliberate and very purposeful with each brushstroke.

I have 5 questions you should ask yourself when you’re assessing your painting to determine if you’re finished or not, and they’re all laid out in my FREE PAINTING GUIDE. 

This painting guide is going to help free you from some of the guesswork of “When is my painting finished?”, and will give you guidance as you walk through the final stages of your painting. 

So there you have it! A three step process you can count on to understand WHEN your painting is finished.

What are some other obstacles you deal with as a painter? I'd love to know! Drop me a line in the comments, maybe I can help.