Monday, July 25

When to Throw Away Your Painting

Oh No.
You have to make the dreaded decision. Should I stick it out and continue to fight the good fight?
If you’re a painter, then you know what I’m talking about. When do you throw in the towel? At what point do you give up and throw away your painting?
I’m telling you, it’s not an easy decision. It should be done (in a perfect world) only after a deliberate, thoughtful process of weighing the good with the bad as it were. It should not be cast off in a fit of anger, although that’s probably the case.
I’ll pass along a little story. I was painting a relatively simple landscape on a half-sheet of watercolor paper. I really liked the motif: a winding stream early in the morning with a couple of egrets standing on the banks. It was a simple composition and palette with primarily greens and blues. I had worked on this painting for a couple of days and was relatively happy with the result.
The first issue was when I decided to remove the border of tape from around the painting. When I start a painting, either watercolor or acrylic on paper, I always apply the tape to frame the painting area. Anyway, as I peeled off the tape, I noticed the paper was sticking to the tape. Trying to carefully remove the tape, I continued to peel, but I knew it was ruining the paper. At this point, I wasn’t too worried, as I could always cover this up with the mat before framing.
But then. After critiquing my work, I decided I should re-paint the egrets so that they had a more realistic stance and proportion. This was acrylic, so no problem. I re-drew the correct forms lightly in pencil.
And then. I applied masking fluid (frisket) over the new shapes, after which I painted over the previously painted birds. The last thing to do was to remove the masking fluid and paint the new egrets with white.
However. As I removed the masking fluid, the top layer of paper came off as it had with the border tape, only this time there was a half-moon tear almost an inch long. The damage was done. No amount of re-painting or over-painting could hide the problem. I could not recover from it, and so threw my painting away in the re-cycling bin.
Throwing away your painting is never an easy decision, especially if you have labored over your work for many hours, days, or even weeks.

But sometimes it’s the only thing left to do. 

(Otherwise) Happy Painting!

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