Hi, I'm Chrissy

Intuitive Artist + Teacher 

How do you know when it's finished?

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One of the questions I get asked most is, 'How do you know when a painting is finished?' 

Ahhhh ... in all honesty, I struggle with this question myself, on most of my paintings!

Because I paint with my feelings {which change all the time}, it can be really difficult to know when it's finished, because I never stop feeling! So for me, feeling finished = feeling-content-with-not-working-on-it-anymore. If I'm not feeling content, I'm probably not yet finished, or just I'm bein' a hater. That will pass.

The little signs that nudge me to keep working at it, are: 

  • I'm still feeling playful and experimental {sometimes I'll start a whole new painting to keep this vibe happening}
  • It looks far too busy and I want to simplify it {I'll start painting entire sections out}
  • An area feels unbalanced {I'll add new features or re-use existing colour combos}
  • I feel like something is 'missing' from the painting {I take a break, walk, or wait for new inspiration}
  • It all looks a bit 'flat' {I'll add some fine details in and reassess} 
  • I want it to be finished because I'm tired of working on it (it's easy to give up here, but stick with it!)
  • I ask Hubby which sections look unfinished {and then sometimes I'll completely ignore his ideas} 
  • I'm feel frustrated. Like really frustrated.  {time to step away from the canvas!}
  • It simply doesn't feel finished to me {and this sucks when I don't know what else to add - yet!}

One day, all these little nudges finally settle and my hard work pays off. A new painting is born - one that feels right to me.

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The ugliest mess in the world could be perfect for how we're feeling and we feel divine after making it.

What I'm trying to express in words here, is that there's no perfect formula to ensure our success. When we're creating truthfully, only we know when something is right ... there's no one who can tell us, because no one feels what inside us, being expressed.

One thing that really helps me ease into this 'unknown' kinda feeling, is reminding myself that it really doesn't matter which path I choose - it's all a work in progress. Honestly.

Whether we're talking about Art or Life, we can't stuff it up, because we can simply chose again, each and every time. If it's not feeling 'finished' anyway - it's worth the risk!

Because when I take the pressure of finishing, I can enjoy the doing.

Painting is my place to take risks like a mad woman! Then one fine day, I find myself approaching the finish line - and I just keep remembering to enjoy the process.

So, the way to finish an Artwork is to embrace that it's not a goal to be conquered. It's simply a series of choices that keep moving us forward, by making adjustments as we go.

Then one day - like Life - we'll realise we feel content with it and we'll no longer need to adjust it anymore to feel good. That's when we know we're finished chasing and racing. We've come home.


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P.S: A little note for perfection ... Making a beeline for the bin every time our artworks don't look 'perfect is rarely the answer - our delicious experiments may lead us on a gorgeous new journey when we can open up to them and see them as possibilities, rather than failures . Besides, we can just paint over them and the textures of our learning can shine through and add depth.

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