I arrived late for this rodeo but was great fun watching the progression..
And John, about the dog hair, I have often said that in the future they ( whoever "they" are) would be able to tell it was one of my paintings from the dog hair!
I think what Larry mentioned about having a concept is maybe one of the most important principles. The concept drives all the decisions- emphasize this, diminish this, everything is subject to the concept. We are not painting "what's there" - we are painting an idea, using whats there to illustrate the idea. That idea might be a spot of rich color against a grave background, or it might be a point of light in a large area of dark, or vice versa..., the objects are really just foils to get the point across.... I think when an artist stops painting "things" and begins to paint ideas, well, thats the goal......