Many visual artists have no particular trouble starting pieces but lots of trouble finishing them. Why is finishing a work of art problematic for so many artists? In this series we’ll look at twelve reasons. Here’s reason number nine:

Reason 9. The appraising will have to begin

While you’re working on a piece, you can keep saying to yourself, “Yes, maybe it isn’t wonderful yet, but by the end it will be!” You hold out the carrot that your further efforts will transform the work into something you really love. But once you say it is complete, then you actually have to appraise it and decide if it is or isn’t excellent, or even any good.

Because we want to put off that moment of reckoning, we say, “Well, let me do just a little more.” Out of conscious awareness we may know that there isn’t really anything more to do and that maybe doing more will actually harm the work. But still we continue, because we don’t want to have to confront the question, “Okay, since I am calling it done, is it any good?”

The answer: accept that the appraising is coming. That appraising isn’t the end of the world: you may be wonderfully surprised, you may be pleasantly surprised, and, yes, you may be disappointed and even demoralized, but whatever the outcome it isn’t the end of the world, you can chalk your effort up to process, part of your apprenticeship, and just the natural fact that only a percentage of our work will prove to be excellent, and move on.

Try not to continue working on a project just because you fear the moment of appraisal. Fear that moment less and you will finish things much more easily, quickly, and regularly!

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