Always a work in progress

There's a question that I am often asked and that I ask of my friends: How do you know when the painting is finished?  My flip response is "Right after you do something to screw it up."  

Lately, I have not been starting my paintings with a specific emotional goal in mind.  They are more pictorial exercises - can I create a mood, what happens if I juxtapose these 2 colors, how to best express volume, where do I want the viewer's eye to go 1st.  All these things will, I hope, lead to more fluid and technically better paintings.  

I hope to develop into a painter who can do 2 things at once - explore the fact that a painting is all about applying color to a canvas and create images that evoke an emotional response.  

When I can look at something I've created and feel I've done both, I guess I'll know it's finished. And, as I am human and competitive, I have no doubt that the criterion for both will not remain fixed.  And that means that I will always be learning and growing.