Saturday, November 21, 2015

What do you do with those paintings that don't work?

©Theresa Grillo Laird, A Soft Light, oil, 12 x 16"

Let's face it. Paintings pile up, and they're not all good. In fact, if your're trying something new- a new palette, a new working method, plein air instead of studio work- you probably have a lot of paintings that aren't that good. You might even have paintings from a while ago in a different style than you're now working in. Or maybe you did as well as you could at that point, but now you have greater skill. So what do you do with all these paintings that are not quite good enough to see the light of day?

First off, don't through them out. If you don't have storage space, try painting on pieces of canvas or linen taped to foam-core. If the painting is a keeper, you can always glue it to a panel.
Pieces that didn't work often have something within them that did work. These pieces can be kept as part of your reference material. They can also serve as a record of where you've come from and can silence the voices that tell you you aren't making progress.

Plein air pieces are generally ones that you don't have a big time investment in. If they have no record of anything you might want to refer to later, they can just be played with. The painting above is an example. It bears very little resemblance to the original scene. The time of day was changed as well as the width of the stream and the background.

With those paintings that you did as well as you could with at the time, it's fun to look back at them and realize that you now know how to solve the problem you were having. If you feel like working on them again, go ahead! Take a quick photo of the before, then have at it!

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