Why Is Finishing a Painting So Hard?

You have started a painting. Everything is going well for a while, then suddenly you reach a block. You can't finish it. Does this sound familiar? Why does this happen and what can you do about it?

According to Eric Maisel, there are three reasons you may find yourself in this conundrum.

The first is that you fear that this is your best, and maybe last, idea. You are weighed down by the feeling that since you may never have another idea as good as this one, you had better draw this out so you have something to work on. Say No! to this thought. Tell yourself that even though it is wonderful to enjoy your current idea, you will have a new idea once you have completed this painting.

The second reason is that the hard part is what is left. You have finished 99% but still have 1% unfinished. What can you do? There are several possible soutions. you could put the work aside for a period of time then come back to it with a fresh eye. The solution may present itself. You could keep fussing with it and come to completion...or make a complete mess! You could declare it finished with the 1% still unfinished. No one else may notice the lack that you perceive. Or you could abandon the work altogether and chock it up to a creative  effort that did not work. The choice is yours. The importance is that you make a decision and move forward.

The final reason you have reached this block is that the painting before you doesn't meet your original vision. Our visions of what we plan to produce often exceed the reality possible. You "see" your painting before it is painted and it is perfect. However, perfection is not what art is about. Our art reflects all of our own personal idiosyncrasies and is far from perfect. Your expectations are not met and the result is disappointment and loss of the motivation to complete the work. What to do? Come to an understanding that your real painting will be different from your imagined painting. Accept that your imagined work need not prevent you from accepting and appreciating your real painting.

You need to create an abundance of work. Some will be better than others but all serve to enform and grow the next work you do. Embrace completing, appraising, showing and selling your painting and begin again the process. Finish the things you start.


Do You Have Grit?

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