Criticism can mean assessment - critique - which is appropriate as your painting gets close to being done.
What I'm talking about here is the other kind of criticism: that frustrated, fault-finding left brain that pops up and thinks it had better take over your painting because the right brain clearly failed.
Are you with me?
Here are three reasons why looking for what you love is much more valuable and productive than being critical of your work.
1. First of all, whatever it is that you love while you're painting is the wayshower for how to get to a painting you love. The parts of your painting that you love are your True North. The other parts are "on their way." Listen to the painting spirit; you're closer than you think.
This process is part of my workshop, The Inspired Abstract.
2. Second, the left brain has got nothing on the right brain when it comes to brilliance. Left-brain ideas come from the pool of the known - good at analysis, but an uninventive resource when you want creative brilliance.
By analogy, if you're building a beautiful home, you might call on an engineer or construction crew to solve a problem with the current structure, but you wouldn't want them hacking up your architect's plans.
Sometimes a frustrated student thinks hacking up their painting will lead to a breakthrough. It might, if the hacking is limited to the problem area. But when it escalates to destruction, they are actually starting a new painting.
3. A third reason to pay attention to what you love rather than find fault with your painting is that artwork transmits the vibration of the artist's consciousness. Do you know what I mean? When you view an artwork, you can feel where the artist was coming from when they made it.
This is one of the most exciting aspects of going to a museum, for me. You can practically reach out and touch the artist's hand and mind. It is time and space travel!
So...guess what people will reach out and touch and receive from your artwork if you paint while feeling critical and frustrated?
Stay with what you love - let it continue to inspire you, even through the tough spots!