Monday, 20 August 2012

Never throw your work away Part 2

I said last week that I would talk a little more about "resurrecting" or reusing, old paintings.

This information today may seem a little obvious, but sometimes, the most obvious thing to do eludes us.  We get stuck in a mind-set and it is hard to think outside the box.

In this case, I would encourage you to think "INSIDE the box", as it were, to see if there are other compositions "inside" a painting you have rejected.

The best way to do this is to use two L-SHAPED pieces of card because you can adjust the size of the rectangle or square that you create.  However, I rather like working with a full mount rather than fiddle with 2 bits of card.  Particularly if I also have the frame to fit the mount, as you can see above, I have laid a mount and loose frame down onto a bigger pic. It is very easy these days, there are countless people on the internet offering frames and mounts at really reasonable prices - Ebay is a pretty good resource.

Some time ago, I did a collage course.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself at the time...but I never did anything with the images I produced.  As is often the case for me with abstracts, I felt somewhat emotionally disconnected from them - I am more of a "narrative" painter.    However, I liked the simple bold colours in this one and some of the textures, so I tried to discover different compositions within the main image, to find some of the potential "inside" images that could perhaps make strong little abstracts.  It was great fun, once I got going, it was hard to stop!

The original image curled up at the edges over time.  I wonder if this often happens with collage.  Anyone know?

Here it is, full form:

and here is a selection of crops.  After a while, I found myself "seeing" things in the images

I can see a house on the left in this one and a landscape around it...see, it's my narrative side coming to the surface as usual:

I don't see anything literal in this one, but I do like the way the black starts to break up into red top right, and I really like the "edges" in some places.  I am less keen on the bottom half...but feel I could work on it a bit more, now. 

I don't like this one. Bottom section too busy and disjointed.  The whole image too rigid .   But that's good, it's really very healthy to find out what you do NOT like;  if you liked everything, it would show some lack of discernment!

Now suddenly I feel I am getting somewhere. I really like the textures in this one, I can see "veils" and layers and subtle things happening beneath the surface:

and I like it slightly more cropped and then rotated.  Now these, I do feel more connected to.  Now I need to find the right title, then this one might find its way into that black frame, I like it a lot...hmm......

I can see figures in this one !

It was an absolutely fascinating exercise, particularly discovering what pushed my buttons, and what left me cold and disinterested.  What this certainly does show is that throwing away old paintings, or even your experimental and practice work, might not be such a good plan.  Put the work aside.  Perhaps, at a later date, you might find something unexpected and maybe even rather exciting buried within!  Interesting compositions on their own, or perhaps new starting points.


  1. Your post is so cool. reinventing painting, reusing them and making new art is so interesting.

  2. Hey! Does the frequency of updating your website depend on specific things or you compose articles when you have a special mood or write posts if you have sufficient time for that? Can't wait to hear from you.

  3. I try to post every week, but with Christmas looming, I have missed a week, I think! I do it as a regular discipline, and I always try to find something to write about which I feel might be of interest to "readers".


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