Thursday, November 4

Ending the Life of a Painting


Well, I gesso’d a bunch of my stretched canvases yesterday. More precisely, I gesso’d over some of my acrylic paintings yesterday.

The good news is that gesso allows you the opportunity to re-use canvases with paintings that, for whatever reason, you have decided are not worthy enough to keep in perpetuity for future generations. That’s the good news, as I said.

The bad news is that you have chosen, for whatever reason, to scrap your artistic creation after what was probably a violent birth. This means you have decided your painting does not, for whatever reason, live up to your expectations and is worth no more than the value of the (now used) canvas itself.

Such are the trials and tribulations, the ups and downs, the ying and yang of a painter.

Some would call it character building, but it is a wrenching experience.

There’s nothing quite like taking a broad brush soaked in gesso and slapping it onto your once beloved work of art. It’s like sending a step-child away forever, although I don’t really know what that’s like, but I imagine it must be.

First you go through the tortures (“of the damned” as my grandmother used to say) of admitting to yourself that you would ever even consider what amounts to virtually throwing your painting(s) away.

Hmmm, which of my "children" do I like least?

Then there is the act itself. Up until the very moment you apply the gesso, you haven’t ruined the painting. In that instant before it touches the canvas you indecisively think, ”What am I doing?”

But after all of that, you have saved yourself the expense and labor of buying or preparing a new canvas.

Then you’re only left with the guilt. Was it worth it?

Until next blog…

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