Monday, September 28, 2009
Reformatting your failures
Here's a painting I did several years ago on Vinalhaven. I had it out in a gallery and I got it back unsold. I "reformatted" it. Here's how I do that.
Periodically I clean out my studio and I always have a big pile of paintings that I started and didn't quite work, or I showed and they came back unsold. I throw them on the floor, and I slide an empty frame around on them and I see if there is a smaller, better picture concealed on the larger canvas. I have a couple of sizes of small frames with which to do this. Most of the time I don't find anything, but often enough tho make it worthwhile I do. Radically cropping a picture often tightens it down to just the most important part of the painting.
The painting of the lobster shack above didn't seem to have an area that was the most important. There were areas all over the canvas that vied for the viewers attention. I cropped it down to an 11 by 14 and I came out with this.
I think it is much improved, it focuses better and I threw away a lot of distracting stuff. The painting will now cost a lot less and that might be good too. I don't paint many small pictures, so I can use them in the inventory.
So there's the little trick. Lay your failure pictures out on the floor and with an empty frame, hunt for smaller pictures within them. When I find one, I run a pencil around the inside of the rabbet of the frame marking off the boundary's of the new painting. Then if it is on a panell I cut it down on my table saw, or if it is on a canvas I cut it down with a scissors leaving two inches extra all the way around my line, then I restretch that. I have ended up with some real nice little paintings this way and I have sold many of them.