Deciding When My Painting is Done, Part 3 – Adding Recognizable Objects to an Abstract and Making it Work

(Part) of My Artist Process 😊 🎨

Probably my biggest challenge – besides knowing when the work is done and stop, and thus allowing myself to return to abstract painting after many decades – is what and how to insert something recognizable into the image: a person, or thing – animate or inanimate (sailboats, birds, a bicycle, the moon, etc).

One of the reasons it was so hard for me to learn to accept a good stopping point when working an abstract – colors, lines and forms – was I felt I had to evolve the abstract itself into something recognizable.

Yet, I was often, actually almost always, much happier with my satisfying abstract vs whatever it was I tried to evolve it into looking like (buildings, clouds, mountains, etc).

The answer, for me, even if challenging, in an almost Roschart-like puzzle-like manner, was deciding on the right object in the right location within the finished abstract.


Because this allows me, after a series of deliberations re composition & source image & color keys, a period of nearly fully-free expressiveness!

It’s hard to express how satisfying this stage of painting is for me – bounded only by a growing awareness to sense when to stop, when to let a streak or stroke of color “be”, and eventually, when to let the work set for the final stages.

Sailboat detail of “In the Light”
©Felipe Adan Lerma
Sailboat detail of “In the Light”
©Felipe Adan Lerma

That final stage, for me, is often a grueling combination of choosing the right object (person or thing) to place into the new world my semi-abstract seems to suggest, then actually executing the tighter yet still-painterly representation into that abstract.

Sometimes I succeed so well in completing the work, I find it hard to find where to sign my new painting, lol! But that’s a different still-evolving story for another time 🙂

Signature detail for In the Light
©Felipe Adan Lerma
Signature detail for In the Light
©Felipe Adan Lerma

Right now I’m working on a strange little 8×8 with lots of earth tones that follows the above sequence. I’ve been lucky enough to photo-document the changes as I’ve progressed and’ll be posting on that when the full process works out. (smiles)

My Related Posts

Amazon Related Products

Thank you so much for coming by! 😊


Twitter / Instagram / FB @FelipeAdanLerma
Amazon Author Page –
Fine Art America (FAA) –

* Please note, full res images are available on my FAA site *


  1. […] — Felipe Adan Lerma (@FelipeAdanLerma) October 21, 2021 Direct link to my post, Deciding When My Painting is Done, Part 3… […]

    Liked by 1 person

  2. […] bedeviled me since spring when I did an initial abstract layin, and then worked from there to find what recognizable object to add to create a combo image of something familiar amid abstracted patter….It is finally developing into something I very much like, but am most “bedeviled” now by my […]

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.