TIPS: how to determine when a painting is done


When is it finished?

There is a time when a painting will get close to completion. Some people just know when they're done and some people will struggle because there's always "more" to do.

The truth can go on forever and forever tweaking this, tweaking that.


Here's a checklist for knowing if you're done or not:

  • Are there any things that really bother you (that will not leave your mind)? If no and the painting makes you happy, you're done.
  • Does the painting convey all you wanted to say? If yes, you're done.
  • Will another mark on it ruin the freshness of the painting? If yes, you're done.
  • Is this the best you can do with the tools, knowledge and time you have at your disposal? If yes, you're done.


I just finished a commissioned portrait. It's done because it shows the Schadel family's dynamic time in Princeton as they grew as a beautiful family and a team. The painting honors their stay here in the US and serves as a reminder of their adventure together.

Click on the video below!

I look back on my life like a good day’s work, it was done and I am satisfied with it.
— Grandma Moses


Starting a painting can be a challenge, but so can ending it. Each piece of artwork tells a message. Make sure you know what message you want to send with your work and you'll know when you've achieved it.


How do you determine when your artwork is finished? Post in the comments below!