I wonder how many artists out there do what I used to do.
For many years I would throw away my preliminary sketches and quite often I’d trash a drawing after it had been committed to a painting because I figured it had no more value. I was wrong.
When this painting was done I put the drawing aside and lost track of it. I wish now that I had kept it as it had a life of it’s own.
Many years ago one of my good friends in Vermont was an artist in her 80’s. I used to love talking to her and one day I mentioned that I had just junked a painting because It wasn’t good enough. She gave me a lecture on the creative process. One of her points was the fact that when we create something it is right and innovative for us at that particular time. For that moment it is an honest statement and should not be discarded. You can look at it a year later with an unbiased eye and then make your decision on whether to keep it or not.
Since then I have tried to follow her advise and there have been many occasions when the piece I though wasn’t good enough turned out to have some merit. If not in itself then as a stepping stone to something new. Much to my surprise some of my original sketches done years ago turned out to be good enough to be framed.
On the other hand, here is an example of something waiting to happen.
It’s a piece of my pallet that caught my eye while working on another painting. It’s not my style so why have I kept it for several years? For some reason it has stayed pinned to my studio wall so maybe I’ll take a shot at it some day. it’s worth keeping.
When it comes to our work the test of time allows us to see what we may have missed when we first created the piece. Don’t be in a rush to judge your own work. Put it aside.
Something that may prove the point . Look at some of the rough sketches produced by artists of the 20th century and check their auction prices.
How many time have you said, “If that were mine I would have junked it.”