The cold wax/oil painting on the left was in this stage for several months; I just needed to "live with it" to determine how satisfied, or dissatisfied I was.
In the final analysis I knew inside the painting on the left was "good", "ok" and heck...it might even sell. But, it isn't about "what will sell", it's about "what do I want to leave behind in this world with my name attached to it?" I decided to keep working over the surface with the hope of bringing it to a more satisfying and personal conclusion. This painting, called "Beginning and End", has more of the aesthetic I am striving for, but it is hard to put just what that is into words.
Sometimes, when trying to determine whether a painting is done, it is enough just to know that what I'm looking at feels "ordinary" and that there is nothing special. Or, perhaps there are things that bother me. In the case of the above red painting stage, I felt both. The painting felt "good", "ordinary", but nothing special, and I felt I could push it further. I also don't like marks that appear too obvious in how they were made, which was the case in the very geometric horizontal markings made with a squeegee tool. But what does "further" feel like or look like? I never really know the answer to this until I do it. Now, looking at the finished work, I know I like it "better" because there is a greater variety of marks which are less predictable. I love marks because they are my personal library of symbols informed by a life lived. Aside from color, they are the design element which really feels like a natural and comfortable place to reside . The color in the revised painting is more complex, with less "hit you in the face "red, more subtleties, and a stronger light/dark value pattern, rather than predominantly mid-tone (although red can read as dark due to it's high saturation; but, if seen in bxw, it would be a mid-tone).