Do you ever wonder how to tell when your painting is finished and you should stop?

You’re not alone.

I know students are often wary of ‘overworking’ their painting – fearing they will wreck what they’ve managed to create if they carry on too much.

Watercolour techniques that favour a wet-on-wet approach can lead to paint mixing too much on the paper and going ‘muddy’ (meaning they lose vibrancy and clarity) – which is a real reason to stop painting early.

But, if you’re interested in painting in a realistic way, you need to flip this thinking on it’s head.

You need to make sure you capture ALL the detail you can see. And you also need to make sure you take your subject as dark in tone as it needs to be (check out my previous blog post: “Know when to carry on” for more on this).

And with my wet-on-dry painting technique there is no danger of muddiness so you can keep adding detail for as long as you need to.

Here’s my 3 point video guide to the details you need to work on so you can feel confident you are ready to stop:

If you’ve struggled with knowing when to stop in the past, please tell me about it in the comments below ! I’d love to hear if it’s happened to you.

Happy painting

  1. Gwendoline Viney 8 years ago

    Thank you Anna
    Your advice is truly helpful

  2. Margaret Orchard 5 years ago

    How invaluable your advice is Anna, that such small alterations/ additions to a painting can make such a difference.

  3. Smudger 5 years ago

    This advice is just what I needed. The final stages of a painting are so important to the overall finished look.

  4. Linda Coffey 2 years ago

    Good tips! I will try to apply these to my next painting. Learning a lot from you & your tutorials!
    Thank You!
    Linda Coffey

  5. Kerry Mole 2 years ago

    Thank you so very much Anna, I am learning so much from your art school already and do appreciate your fab advice as it is extremely helpful to me throughout the whole process of learning how to paint with “wow!”
    Kerry x

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