Now I'm going to reach even farther back, to a piece I started in 2008. At that time I had considered this finished:
I swished some paint on the surface, over the hand, to busy it up a bit and incorporate it into the piece -- I didn't like how it was just sitting on top, all pristine and static. When that dried, I scribbled "You could choose anything" on it, because I was feeling loose-ended and sometimes it's the vastness of available choices that stops me from starting.
Then I blocked out most of the detail from the collage and kept daubing paint here and there on the hand until I felt like it was interesting but not too "done."
Finally, I covered up the little silver pieces at the top with blue, and drew lines like little strings that the fingers are pulling.
The original title was "There is a Design," because of the sewing pattern paper I'd used in the collage. I still like the title -- maybe even more now because it perfectly contradicts my handwritten assertion of free will. Perhaps it's a painting for an agnostic.