The master Jean-Francois Millet wrote in a letter, "If a sketch seen in the dim half light at the end of the day has the requisite balance- ponderation- it is a picture: if not, no clever arrangement of color, no skill in drawing our elaborate finish, can ever make our a picture."
That said- as one surfs the slippery tide of color vibration one can easily get lost. My solution is to also spent time making large value pastels. It's one of those catch 22s. The abstract of the painting is always the mos important..if that doesn't work it will never work. We want to be free to answer to the painting rather than impose the "scene." Therefore I make these and then put them aside.