Successful Paintings – what makes a painting have “it”

Cupid Catcher

Recently I’ve been exchanging emails with a friend and collector about having that “eye” for spotting good paintings. How do you know if it’s good? Is it a gut reaction? The answer is yes, of course. As a painter you know when you need a red color here or when the composition is lacking or “off.” Or egads, when it must be destroyed. After years of painting, it’s something that comes subconsciously. As an exercise, my friend asked me to pick my most successful paintings and explain why I thought they had “it.” After much thinking, because I arrive at different and unique solutions for each painting, the best answer I can offer is this:

My most satisfying paintings are the ones that made me feel the most nervous in their creation.

Nervousness – because of technique (not really much of a concern, solutions manifest along the way), or idea (bigger concern, as this is always an act of faith)