At the last stage I try to resolve the following:
• Surface quality - does each area call for more/less texture or refinement?
• Edge quality - finalize which edges are lost/found/fuzzy.
• Glaze where appropriate - to unify and enhance.
• Sign the painting
• Do a final oiling-in once everything is dry (stand oil + gamsol)
This photo shows the removal of the purple shadowed grass seed heads in the foreground. They broke up the space nicely, kind of opposite to the light patches showing through the dark trees in the background, but they would have been too apparent. I painted additional tones in the grass and bumped up the lightest lights slightly. This was done with thin (slightly transparent) paint so that the grass heads didn't seem frozen in place.
Also of note in this photo is the obvious difference in depth where the the background has been oiled in (around the edges) and where it has not. I love oiling-in and seeing the rich darks come back to life.
Next . . . The Final Painting and Close-ups