Saturday, November 09, 2013

When to Let a Painting Go




'Fall Inspiration'           8x8         pastel         ©Karen Margulis
sold

It is taking me a long time to organize my studio. But it is a thoughtful time.  Thank goodness for an annual Open Studio Tour. It gives me a good reason to review the year's work and make decisions about it. Which paintings go to galleries? Which ones need to be reworked. Which ones just need to be recycled. Which ones to finally let go.

 I get lost in revisiting these old friends.  I uncover paintings I haven't seen in awhile. I remember what it was like at the time they were painted. I am flooded with memories and emotion.



Sometimes I uncover a painting that I haven't been ready to sell. Maybe I never offered it for sale or if I have I was secretly happy that it didn't sell.  Since I paint a lot I tend not to get too emotionally attached to a painting. But every once in awhile there are some that I just want to keep around.  I read recently that this means we still have lessons to be learned from these paintings.

I think it is a good practice to look at these paintings once a year....ask yourself some questions.  Why do I like this painting so much? What is it that speaks to me?  What did I do that was successful? How can I incorporate that into my current work?  Take the time to truly soak up the painting and what it means to you.  You may then find you are ready to move on and let it have a good home where it will be appreciated.

You might not know the answers. You might not be quite ready to let it go. You might never be ready and that's OK.  You'll know when the time comes.

The time has come for several of my old friends including this Fall tree.  What did it mean to me and what did I learn from it?  It was my first successful (to me) attempt at simplification of a tree and surrounding landscape.  It was my use of bigger and bolder strokes that spoke to me. I painted it last Fall but I am ready to let it go now.




4 comments:

Carol Hopper said...

Thanks you your tips regarding revisiting paintings. I have so many, some quite old and in beautiful frames. I am unclear what to do with those. If the painting isn't valuable, the seamless frame certainly is.

Your work is gorgeous and I love following your blog.

robertsloan2art said...

That makes sense. I always had favorites I didn't want to sell. Yet eventually I did - usually because I did one that I liked better and it got just as personal.

I went through that every time I've sold art. I'd choose favorites and never want to let go of them, but a couple of years or several years later I'd do something else better and outgrow it and want to let it go. Then sell it or gift it to someone who loves it.

My contented pregnant Smilodon in the forest wound up a gift to my daughter on that basis. When I first painted her I never wanted to let her go - she was a great cat, in a happy mood on her favorite rock reflected in a calm pond with little yellow aspen leaves floating on it. The landscape came out perfect and she was actually in it, not pasted on looking but there. I'd also successfully captured a happy big cat. She came out pregnant as a surprise, her tummy a bit bigger than it should be was serendipity.

So I framed her... and then there came a day when I was used to doing forest scenes and knew I'd understood what really worked in her. Knew I could do another Smilodon any time and she wouldn't be accidentally pregnant, she'd be pregnant if I intended that.

So she went to my daughter, who is very proud of being a mom and likes the image of the great cat happy in her pregnancy. She is a good mom. It went to the right person. When we let go, the buyer or giftee is just as happy.

Other moments of finite perfection come as they do.

You said it. "That means it has something to teach me." When a painting was a serendipity leap, I have to keep it around till I could do better. Whether I repeat the subject or not I have to understand what I did. You make sense again! Thank you!

Karen said...

Thank you Carol! I appreciate you reading my blog and for commenting. I agree with you about the frames!

Karen said...

Thanks for sharing Robert! As always you have such a wonderful way or putting things. I love your story about the cat painting finding the right home. I have some of my cat's pantings that could only go to family!