Best of Pastel Pointers | The Finish Line

Halcyon Afternoon (pastel, 12 x 16) By Richard McKinley

Halcyon Afternoon
(pastel, 12 x 16) By Richard McKinley

I’m giving Richard a little “spring break” this week, but don’t worry; I went to our archives to choose a “Pastel Pointers” column ready for “re-release.” This one, from the October 2010 issue of Pastel Journal, talks about the challenge of knowing when a painting is finished. As Richard puts it in the article’s opening lines: “How do you know when you’re done with a painting? This is one of the most frequently asked questions among artists. And most responses are ambiguous at best:

  • When I have gone too far
  • When someone takes it away from me
  • When someone offers to buy it
  • When my teacher tells me I’m done

These answers may be clever, but they skirt the blunt truth: There really isn’t a definitive point of completion. It’s subjective and a matter of individual taste. With that in mind, click here to read a PDF download of Richard’s article and find out how you can step back, relax and evaluate your work.

Richard will be back next Monday with more pointers. I hear he may have something to say about blue skies. Until then, here’s hoping you enjoy plenty of blue skies in the days ahead!


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