I know the frustration of a dud. I have had more failed paintings than successful ones. I know how it feels to be dejected and to think that I have just wasted precious paper and supplies. Very early on in my painting journey I decided to change my mindset. If I was going to get better at this painting thing I knew I needed to practice....a lot. That meant many bad paintings before perhaps a few good ones emerged from the dust! It also meant that I couldn't hoard my supplies. I needed to use them. Having pastels get smaller became a sign that I was on the right track rather than cringeworthy! I also decided that I wasn't afraid to use my 'good' sanded papers because I could always repurpose the paper if the painting was a dud.
So over the years the bad paintings piled up....literally piled up in a box (or three!) I have a lot of failed paintings waiting to be reused. From time to time I will pull a piece out from the pile and do what I now call a 'Big Fix'. I will either try to rescue the original painting armed with new knowledge and experience or I will wipe off the painting and start with something new.
I have shared the different ways I repurpose paper here on the blog. For today's painting I used the easy method of a light alcohol wash. I took an older failed bird nest painting and brushed on a very light wash of rubbing alcohol. I did not brush off the pastel first but it was not very thick. I did like the original underpainting which had some interesting drips so I didn't want to cover it all up. I just wanted to restore the tooth of the paper and tone it with the colors in the nest painting. The results are in the photo below.
Now I needed to decide what this new underpainting could be. I was working on the still life for my Patreon group so I looked through my reference photos and found the perfect candidate.....a vase of blue hydrangeas! All I needed to do was to turn my paper to portrait format and the flowers were already there! I loved the out of focus background and it would be just the thing to set off the flowers!
I began with a light pastel pencil drawing of the new subject. and I was ready to paint! I thoroughly enjoyed incorporating the remnants of the old painting into my new one! Another Big Fix is in the books!
Don't allow yourself to feel frustrated by the duds! They are markers on the road to your success. Don't throw them away. Save them for another day!