Varnishing, framing, and presentation.
Even if you have no one to present the final work to, no audience in the wings, every painting is presented as finished at some stage, even if it’s only to the cat looking in the kitchen window.
It’s a process, and drawing a line under the work, metaphorically speaking, is a very important part of that process.
It allows you to give yourself permission to move on. To entertain new ideas and to plan your next masterpiece.
We can’t forever be going back and fiddling, trying to ‘fix’ old paintings. I, myself have been guilty of this in the past; I think its a common beginner’s mistake. The belief that you can make things better if you just keep working on them.
Learn from your mistakes and also learn from your successes. Build on those hard earned lessons and apply them readily, with more skill in a new work.
Varnishing the old ones is a good way to remedy the urge to re-touch. Stacking neatly is another one. If all else fails turn it in against the wall behind a pile of old stretcher bars.
When you come across it again in six months, the ointment of time might have done its work and you could be pleasantly surprised.
There will always be something worth salvaging, even if it’s only the canvas.
Luckily, these paintings here got it right first time. It doesn’t always happen, but it did for these.