For me the most exciting part of starting a new painting, is the proverbial 'wind beneath my wings'. That is where I get swept up in the enthusiasm for the idea, working out the design and swiping on those first flourishing gestures in thin oil paint for the 'block in', laying out my palette with juicy fresh colour. Sometimes I zoom along and establish most of the painting at this stage, other times with more complicated subjects I let the design percolate and go back to it several times at different intervals moving it forward bit by bit. If the time lapsed between sessions is great I can easily lose the passion for it. I look at the painting at it's half-way (ugly)stage and wonder where the joy went. I feel stuck.
How can I get that feeling back?
What I have found works for me is to put the painting on the easle, push my swivel (easy)chair back about 10 feet and study the painting from that distance. Then I write a list. At the top of the list I write down what the painting is "about" to me...the main idea behind it. That keeps me clear on what it is I want to convey. My work is not conceptual, but I have my own reasons for the paintings I undertake. Underneath the main idea, I list different areas of the painting that need attention, and my plan for resolving these areas. Sometimes the list is really long, other times it's just a few tweaks. It's rather methodical. It dashes the notion of the free spirited, devil may care, risk-taking artist who dives in and paints with gusto from start to finish. heh heh. nope. That's not me.
Pushing past stuck is pretty straight forward. Time and perserverance are usually what see me through.