When preparing my students for their culminating interviews I always ask them,”How do you know when your work is finished?” Half of them stare at me in fear (is there a right answer?) while others comfortably share (its a feeling, when I start to destroy by adding more to it). And I wonder how many professionals would share the same look of fear and hesitation in their answers?

I have a work I’m still unsatisfied with that has gone through many progressions:

This is the original work. In hindsight, I almost think I should have left it intact and worked on it as a whole more. I am proud I took the risk to see where it would go, though!

I cut into pieces and made changes to each section. Still don’t think they are complete!

This is one of the few remnants I really like, but I can’t articulate why.

Combined and cut up two pieces

So, I ask you creative readers, how do you know when an artwork is finished? Do you believe it is an amorphous thing or does it come by a specific set of strategies or through containing certain qualities?

BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: What do you do to determine if your artwork is finished? When you are feeling stuck, try a new strategy! Maybe it will better inform your decision “to be done.”