Isn’t it a great feeling once you have finished a painting, especially when you’re excited about the results and can’t wait to release it! But your work on that particular art piece isn’t finished. There are a number of things to do after you finish a painting, ad certainly before you send it off to its new home, a gallery, or your storage.
I’ll admit to you right now, these tasks are not too exciting, but you WILL thank yourself later for having completed them. In addition, this is one of the defining differences between a hobbyist and a professional artist.
6 Things To Do After You Finish A Painting
First and foremost, celebrate! It’s not always easy to see a creative project through from start to completion. So you deserve to reward yourself for making the time to create and finishing!
2. Leave it Alone
First thing you should do, when you declare an art piece finished is Leave It Alone. Knowing when to stop, and declare an art piece finished, is a skill on its own.We are often tempted to go back in and fiddle with things or adjust details. and next thing you know, it’s overworked and you hate the results.
As soon as you feel that you are nearing the end, place the painting at a distance from you, or take a few steps back from your easel. Observe your art piece for a moment and determine if your next stroke or mark is truly necessary.
3. Sign it, Make it Official
Signing your painting is the last alteration you make to your artwork. This is what I term ‘honouring the painting’. You signature should be clear and easy to read. When signing your work, be sure to remain consistent with your signature. A collection of work shouldn’t appear as though someone different signed each piece. Also, keep in mind what tools or materials you are using to sign your pieces. Keep it simple and be sure to use archival quality materials.
4. Give it a Title
Many artist struggle with naming their paintings. Sometimes the completed artwork needs to sit with you for a few days before the title comes to you, or you can even ask others to name it for you. Either way, before you depart from the work, be sure to give it a title.
5. Photograph It & Record It
This is one of those items that seems unnecessary but I assure you that you don’t want to have to go back and catalogue a ton of paintings completed years ago. While the information is still fresh, record the work in your database. Some use Microsoft Excel, and others use software such as Artwork Archive. In your database record the title, dimensions, inventory number, date completed, buyer, price. This becomes increasingly important when you have a sizable body of work.
Learning to photograph your work will have you feeling like you’re learning a new medium! But it’s a must. Having high quality photos that are easily accessible make it easy when you are ready to apply to various exhibitions and events where photos form part of the application process. Also, this is a great form of documentation once the artwork has been purchased and is no longer in your possession.
6. Share It
So you’ve done all this hard work, it looks amazing and now what? Well the world is ready and waiting sis. It’s time to share it! If you have a website or blog, now is the time to post it and write about it while the process of creating the artwork is still fresh in your mind. People are often just as interested in the process as they are in the final product. You may also choose to post it on your social media accounts or YouTube channel. Whichever medium you choose, be sure to correctly cite your work using the title, year of completion, your name, and the artwork’s medium/dimensions.
Wait! There are Actually 7! – Protect It
I couldn’t leave you without one of the most important step of all. There’s one more item that I must add to the list of things to do when you finish a painting. Protect your artwork! There’s no point in doing all of this magnificent work if you don’t protect it. Protecting your work is the first step in preservation. You want collectors to be assured that the work can be enjoyed for generations to come.