Tweak, Tweak, Tweak…..


“What is once well done, is done forever.”  Henry David Thoreau (from

Is there a little bird who says when its time to stop tweaking a work or a subject?  When is enough, enough?  Many creative people have a difficult time knowing when to stop.  A tweaky little tweaker flitting in to let out a bit of tweak when the time has come to stop all tweaking would relieve a lot of the guess work.  The little tweaker would pop out the tweak just as the temptation to add just one more bit, one more word, one more shot is about to takeover.  The tweaker would bring freedom from the urge to tweak.

 ArtNews has an article by Ann Landi posted about this subject.  Landi talks to several noted artists about when they know the work is complete.  Landi says, “for some artists, the work is done when it leaves the studio.  Others keep tinkering in the galleries.  One waits for the piece to “cry uncle.”  The responses Landi got were as varied as the artists themselves.  Artists are as creative in when to stop as they are in where to begin.

Artist Sandy Guthrie of addresses the problem by identifying a “gut” reaction to the work in progress.  Guthrie says, “what to do with the ones that are good, possibly very good—but just not grabbing you in the gut in the same way, is very difficult.”  Guthrie “read about an artist who says she always hangs her new work in her house after she has finished.  If after a few weeks she feels she loves it, then it can be sold.  If not, it goes back to the studio for more work.”

When to stop tweaking is apparently one of those little oddities that only an artist can answer for him/her self.  It’s a dilemma to be worked out on an individual basis.  The problem could quickly be solved if the tweaker would just show up and tweak a little tune at the precise moment the work is complete.  Harnessing the cheeky, tweaky tweaker is a difficult process.  Just be careful not to mix up the tweaker for the twerker.  You definitely wouldn’t want to go there

Author: MaryGwyn

Artist-Art Educator-Art in Healthcare

11 thoughts on “Tweak, Tweak, Tweak…..”

  1. When I’m creating digital art, I know exactly when the image is right and I stop working on it. If I’m doubtful I’ll often simply put it to one side and then return to it later because I’ve found tweaking doesn’t really work for me.

  2. Exactly the same for writers. STOP POLISHING! I have to shout at myself. Sometimes I even have to give myself a chinese burn – not easy, you know … 😉

  3. This could apply to just about any work where you’re creating something — a project plan, a presentation, cooking, working on a golf swing. Great article, a lot to think about (YES, I am a certified tweaker with no artistic talent whatsoever).

  4. Somewhere between the initial impulse and the finished product is a hell of a lot of experience, tweaking, over-tweaking and failure.

    Each man’s little triumphs are his own, and he invites you into his work

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