Visit my Patreon Page for more painting instruction and Paint Along Videos!

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Never Give Up on a Painting!

'Flowers From my Garden' 6x6 pastel ©Karen Margulis

I took out my scissors today and cut a bouquet of flowers. And it felt good! Last week I had painted a still life of wildflowers in a tin container. I struggled with that container. I couldn't get it the right shape. I brushed out and added again and again and it never did look right. I liked the flowers. But the wonky container was distracting.
I am not one to give up on a painting. I will usually set it aside and think about what I can do to make it better. I don't like to be defeated. I rarely throw away a painting. I will always do something to it to save the good even if I have to start over with a ghost image from brushing it out. I know some will disagree. Some artists don't like to live with paintings that frustrate or displease them. It is better for them to get rid of them. I feel that we can learn something from every painting especially the failed ones. I believe there is a gem or something you did well in every painting. You just have to find it and learn from it.

'A New Bouquet' 5x7 pastel
In this bouquet of flowers I was happy with the way I painted the flowers. I liked the colors and shapes. I could have worked more on the vase but I preferred to keep what I liked in this particular painting. So out came my scissors and I cut two little flower paintings. I will try the tin container again with a fresh eye. But for now I can just enjoy the cut flowers!

What do you do with a painting that displeases you? Do you ever throw a painting away? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Just comment below!


K Vignal said...

Yes, have thrown away a few and it felt... GOOD! Those unhappy failed little works that sat in the bottom drawer would call out to me every so often, "We're still heeeere... have you improved at all???" So... good-bye and... YES, I have improved!

Mariela said...

Good morning Karen,
I'm like you I never through away a painting. Once I cuted a seascape watercolor in two smaller painting, but usually I repaint and change what I don;t like at first.
I like your sunflowers, this a favorite subject to me, I have painted them a lot.
One thing is for sure, for every failure there something to learn.

nigelfletcher said...

I hate to throw away a painting, scratch the paint off (oil) or tear it up (watercolour) the tearing up usually happens after all else fails, like washing off, re-working, thinking time, cup of tea, another cup of tea, and if it can't be rescued It's torn up in a mad 5 second frensy and I have to start again. that's the other thing I hate to be beaten!

robertsloan2art said...

I'm odd that way. I let it go and move on. If I'm not satisfied with it, I keep going and try the subject again but don't usually go back to rework them.

I love your crops on the flowers. Both are gorgeous little paintings. That's a cool way to deal with it! You have me thinking I might apply the idea to a couple of old landscapes and things that I wasn't all that happy with.

robertsloan2art said...

One of the things I do is just store them. Stick them down in the bottom of a box and wait.

Either I get so much better that I understand what went wrong and lose the frustration, or I look back and realize it wasn't as bad as I thought it was. Occasionally I've had paintings come out better than usual but thought they were horrible, would have binned them if I was prone to throwing out paintings that didn't work. Storing them usually gives me a better perspective on them - and if I've improved past that point I'm not ashamed of having done a bad one a few years ago. Then it's just old, that's why it was so bad - much easier on me emotionally.

Karen said...

Love reading your comments. I do admit to throwing away a few but most of them I just stack up. I figure I can at least reuse the paper!

Diana Moses Botkin said...

Good food for thought, and I like the effortless appearance of the flowers you've captured.

As for me, sometimes I rework a piece that doesn't work. Or I might crop it. Occasionally I will sand it down and paint over the whole image or throw it in the fire or the trash. I have regretted doing this, afterwards, but at the time it was a relief to move on.

Karen said...

Thanks Diana I appreciate your thoughts. I think when I get back from the plein air convention I will revisit my stack of challenges and see what I can do with them!