Think about the WORK that the work must do.
Think about the subject of your painting.
I do not mean that you should think about the painting as an image, as a picture of something. I mean: what is the painting about? To what situation does it address itself? What does your painting celebrate or criticise?
Think about the title of your painting.
To start with a title is to already have considered the subject of your painting. Having done so it becomes far easier to make aesthetic or compositional decisions: to refine one’s search. Once you know the subject of your painting, you can ask it questions: what happens to the meaning of the painting if you do this rather than that? Does it say more or does it say less?
Think about the context of your painting.
Where does your painting come from and where will it go? If your painting is for a particular individual, hypothetical or actual, what is it that you would like to give that person when they encounter your painting? Is the painting for a particular space and if so, in what way does that space need to be transformed, subtly or radically? Who uses the space?
Think about other painters’ paintings.
What do you like about their paintings? Why do you like that? What are the paintings about? what is the rest of the artists’ work about? In what way do the technical, stylistic or formal strategies influence the meaning of the work?