How do I know when my painting is finished?

First and foremost, it’s a feeling. For me, it’s not really a sigh of relief, more of a “I’m tired of this and ready to let it go”. I don’t mean that to sound harsh. I love painting! I love the process and most of the time I love the end result. Let me tell you about a painting that I tried to keep finishing. It was several weeks ago. I was working on a canvas a good bit bigger than I’m used to. I added many, many layers to this canvas because it kept calling for more. I finally got to a point where I was ready to be finished. But as I looked at it I really hated it. It felt ugly to me on every level. So I thought, “This can’t be finished if I don’t like it.” I’m supposed to love everything I paint, right? With the hopes of “fixing” it, I hung it on my wall. I looked at it from a distance and in different lighting. But over the course of a few days, it became uglier to me. So what did I do? I painted over the whole thing with black paint and stuck it back with my blank canvases. The reality was, that painting was finished. I was ready to let it go and take the lessons I had learned from it on to another piece. Do you want to know the really cool thing about that painting? The very first layer I had painted the words, “let go” all over it. If art is about the process and if we allow it to seep into our soul, we can really learn something from it.