We Asked the Artists: How Do You Know When a Piece is Finished?

We Asked the Artists: When is a piece finished?



As Leonardo da Vinci said, “Art is never finished, only abandoned.” It is hard to know when to step back from a piece and call it complete. However, there’s seems to be a point in the creative process when an artist can let the artwork stand on its own. So, we asked the artists:
 

How do you know when a piece is finished? Is it a feeling that you get, or is it the moment you sign your name?

 

Renee Zarate We Asked the Artists

~Artwork by Renee Zarate

 

“I get a feeling of balance when a piece is finished.  A feeling of dread when I consider adding one more thing is a sign that pretty much tells me I’m done with it.  I don’t sign the piece unless it is leaving my studio to go elsewhere.”

Renee Zarate has been featured in Art JournalingThe Stampers’ Sampler, Somerset Studio, Take TenSomerset Studio Gallery, and HandCrafted.

 

Lynne Moncrieff We Asked the Artists

~Artwork by Lynne Moncrieff



“Sometimes it is just knowing when it is finished or there are the few times when unfortunately, time constraints may dictate that the piece is finished when otherwise I might have continued to tweak at my leisure.”

Lynne Moncrieff is an artist living in Perth, Scotland, and has been published in Somerset StudioSomerset Studio GalleryTake TenHaute HandbagsSomerset LifeSomerset Holidays & CelebrationsSew Somerset, and The Stampers’ Sampler.

 

Anna Corba We Asked the Artists

~Artwork by Anna Corba

“I get a feeling in my gut when a piece is finished. It is a delicate balance of restful yet vibrant composition, a certain coherence splashed with a dash of mystery. A wonderful mixture of analysis and intuition. A razor’s edge. To achieve this every now and again is immensely rewarding. It is the opposite of formulaic… I like to be able to look at my work many days later and wonder, how the heck did I do that?”

Anna Corba has been published in MingleSomerset Studio, and HandCrafted, as well as publishing her own book, Doodling in French: How to Draw with Joie de Vivre. Her book and stamp line are available at The Shoppe.

 

Sandra Evertson We Asked the Artists

~Artwork by Sandra Evertson



“Another great question and my answer is the piece itself tells me when we’re through, there is always this perfect little ending place, it’s like a light switch shutting off and then you’re done. Half the time I forget to sign my name.” 

Sandra Evertson’s work has appeared in Somerset HomeSomerset Studio Gallery, Somerset StudioArtful BloggingSomerset Workshop, and Altered Couture. She has also produced five, whimsical stamp collections that are exclusively available in The Shoppe.

 

Michelle E. Black We Asked the Artists

~Artwork by Michelle E. Black

 

“Art is meant to evoke an emotion, if something is distracting me from an emotion I fix it, address it and fine tune it.  Then when I look at it, with a sense of pride I know its done.  I don’t waste too much time second guessing.  Its not for everyone and that’s fine, those who get it, GET IT.  I use say I was ‘getting my portfolio together’ time would go by and I still, ‘getting my portfolio together’…before I did anything with my talent.  I never did GET IT TOGETHER, because it was always evolving.  Its easier now that I know what I like, just put it out there and hopefully someone else will too.  I subconsciously ask myself, ‘What emotion do I want to evoke, how does it make me feel when I look at it?’  Those are my questions.”

Michelle E. Black is a photographer and artist that has been published in Somerset Studio GallerySomerset HomeSomerset Holidays & CelebrationsSomerset Apprentice, and Somerset Studio.

 

Claudine Hellmuth We Asked the Artists

~Artwork by Claudine Hellmuth



“I always work on pieces over a series of days, so I come back to it with fresh eyes each morning. This really helps me get a gut feeling on when the work is finished or at least I am done! There’s always more one can do to tweak or change, but at a certain point, you just have call it done or risk the piece being overworked!”

Claudine Hellmuth is an artist and illustrator whose work has appeared in Where Women CreateStuffed MagazineSomerset Studio, and Artful Blogging. She has also produced a line of stamps available in The Shoppe.

 

Seth Apter We Asked the Artists

~Artwork by Seth Apter

 

“My sense that a work is finished is always based on a feeling that I get and I usually feel very confident when I know it is time to stop. My rule of thumb is that if I am even asking myself ‘is this work complete?’, it generally means it is not.”

Seth Apter is the author of The Pulse of Mixed Media and his work has appeared in Somerset MemoriesSomerset Studio, and Somerset Apprentice.

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Posted: Tuesday, September 8th, 2015 @ 9:30 am
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11 Responses to “We Asked the Artists: How Do You Know When a Piece is Finished?”

  1. it was interesting to hear how other artists know when a piece is done. when i think a piece is finished it helps to put it aside for a few days. when i pick it up again it becomes clear if it is content…or if it is asking for more attention.

  2. I know my piece is finished when this big smile comes across my face, I get all giddy and my heart does a little dance.

  3. If I am not sure a piece is done I let it sit somewhere where it is looking back at me. I let it tell me if it is done or not.

  4. Penny Crane says:

    Funny, not all pieces are the same but if I turn it around looking for a place to continue and there is none I am at that point, confident that it is complete, nothing left to do but admire it and be joyful in it’s beauty, a true gift.

  5. Cathy L Herbold says:

    My grandma (Nany) painted forever so when I was 30 I started teaching myself to oil paint. I started a picture of a old house in a dry field with a buck board wagon the back end going off the canvas to the left. Every detail of field and sky and house done good even the wagon an barb wire but what was wrong it took two weeks staring at this painting. All of a sudden I shortened the wagon so it wasn’t running off the canvas put a end on it and wa la the painting was finished. Nany tells of a painting she did of two nuns walking thru ny Central Park what was wrong they carried umbrellas and the one nuns hand was not holding it

  6. Ella says:

    Insightful to learn what others do and feel about this process~ My art is done when it tells a story. Sometimes my stories are simple and other times complicated-just like life-itself.

  7. Great answers. Really affirming. It’s a visceral experience for me. I just know in my bones that it’s finished when it’s finished. It’s an amazing experience and took me quite by surprise the first time it happened. Joy combined with a huge sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

  8. diana says:

    i can tell when a piece is done when i just can’t bear to add anything to it… my final add is always my black archival ink applied to the edges of the art journal page, tag, canvas…. great question!! love reading the answers

  9. Julie Lee says:

    I think I know that feeling, Kim. What a lovely way of describing how you feel. xx

  10. Lovely and most interesting to read these. Nicola x

  11. Gail Miller says:

    When I make my one-of-a-kind note cards, there comes a time when everything looks complete and if I add one more thing, it will be spoiled!

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We Asked the Artists: When is a piece finished?



As Leonardo da Vinci said, “Art is never finished, only abandoned.” It is hard to know when to step back from a piece and call it complete. However, there’s seems to be a point in the creative process when an artist can let the artwork stand on its own. So, we asked the artists:
 

How do you know when a piece is finished? Is it a feeling that you get, or is it the moment you sign your name?

 

Renee Zarate We Asked the Artists

~Artwork by Renee Zarate

 

“I get a feeling of balance when a piece is finished.  A feeling of dread when I consider adding one more thing is a sign that pretty much tells me I’m done with it.  I don’t sign the piece unless it is leaving my studio to go elsewhere.”

Renee Zarate has been featured in Art JournalingThe Stampers’ Sampler, Somerset Studio, Take TenSomerset Studio Gallery, and HandCrafted.

 

Lynne Moncrieff We Asked the Artists

~Artwork by Lynne Moncrieff



“Sometimes it is just knowing when it is finished or there are the few times when unfortunately, time constraints may dictate that the piece is finished when otherwise I might have continued to tweak at my leisure.”

Lynne Moncrieff is an artist living in Perth, Scotland, and has been published in Somerset StudioSomerset Studio GalleryTake TenHaute HandbagsSomerset LifeSomerset Holidays & CelebrationsSew Somerset, and The Stampers’ Sampler.

 

Anna Corba We Asked the Artists

~Artwork by Anna Corba

“I get a feeling in my gut when a piece is finished. It is a delicate balance of restful yet vibrant composition, a certain coherence splashed with a dash of mystery. A wonderful mixture of analysis and intuition. A razor’s edge. To achieve this every now and again is immensely rewarding. It is the opposite of formulaic… I like to be able to look at my work many days later and wonder, how the heck did I do that?”

Anna Corba has been published in MingleSomerset Studio, and HandCrafted, as well as publishing her own book, Doodling in French: How to Draw with Joie de Vivre. Her book and stamp line are available at The Shoppe.

 

Sandra Evertson We Asked the Artists

~Artwork by Sandra Evertson



“Another great question and my answer is the piece itself tells me when we’re through, there is always this perfect little ending place, it’s like a light switch shutting off and then you’re done. Half the time I forget to sign my name.” 

Sandra Evertson’s work has appeared in Somerset HomeSomerset Studio Gallery, Somerset StudioArtful BloggingSomerset Workshop, and Altered Couture. She has also produced five, whimsical stamp collections that are exclusively available in The Shoppe.

 

Michelle E. Black We Asked the Artists

~Artwork by Michelle E. Black

 

“Art is meant to evoke an emotion, if something is distracting me from an emotion I fix it, address it and fine tune it.  Then when I look at it, with a sense of pride I know its done.  I don’t waste too much time second guessing.  Its not for everyone and that’s fine, those who get it, GET IT.  I use say I was ‘getting my portfolio together’ time would go by and I still, ‘getting my portfolio together’…before I did anything with my talent.  I never did GET IT TOGETHER, because it was always evolving.  Its easier now that I know what I like, just put it out there and hopefully someone else will too.  I subconsciously ask myself, ‘What emotion do I want to evoke, how does it make me feel when I look at it?’  Those are my questions.”

Michelle E. Black is a photographer and artist that has been published in Somerset Studio GallerySomerset HomeSomerset Holidays & CelebrationsSomerset Apprentice, and Somerset Studio.

 

Claudine Hellmuth We Asked the Artists

~Artwork by Claudine Hellmuth



“I always work on pieces over a series of days, so I come back to it with fresh eyes each morning. This really helps me get a gut feeling on when the work is finished or at least I am done! There’s always more one can do to tweak or change, but at a certain point, you just have call it done or risk the piece being overworked!”

Claudine Hellmuth is an artist and illustrator whose work has appeared in Where Women CreateStuffed MagazineSomerset Studio, and Artful Blogging. She has also produced a line of stamps available in The Shoppe.

 

Seth Apter We Asked the Artists

~Artwork by Seth Apter

 

“My sense that a work is finished is always based on a feeling that I get and I usually feel very confident when I know it is time to stop. My rule of thumb is that if I am even asking myself ‘is this work complete?’, it generally means it is not.”

Seth Apter is the author of The Pulse of Mixed Media and his work has appeared in Somerset MemoriesSomerset Studio, and Somerset Apprentice.

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