Most of the time it's very clear to me when a painting is finished. I will feel a satisfying sort of "clunk" in my heart. But occasionally, it's less apparent when a painting is complete, as with this piece above. It could be finished--something simple and clean. Or it may need more work. I'm not sure.
The problem I've found when I'm not sure if it's done is that I can then move into the territory of over-working a piece. It can become a tortured sort of mask that loses it's appeal. Or I'll add embellishments that take away from the piece, rather than adding anything to it.
This is a metaphor for my life, of course. There are times when I can't leave well enough alone. I don't feel that little "clunk" that says, "Enough, Michele." Instead of continuing to work at it, though, that is just a sign that maybe I need to wait and see. If more is meant to be done, then that will reveal itself in due time.
Luckily with art, I can have a scan of the image that let's me preserve its original state, before I couldn't resist just one more thing. Sadly, life doesn't generally offer that opportunity.