Artist’s Musings

a pair of geese flew by; outside my studio window; i’m glad elephants don’t fly

Reimagining some paintings from a few years ago

I had been in a dry spell for a long while, but I have recently crawled out of the rut. Sometimes clutter around one could make it difficult to focus or feel motivated. Procrastination, laziness, depression, whatever else you would like to call it, or speed bumps I supposed.

I forced myself off my ass, so to speak, and I decluttered my studio and my walls of all idle paintings and reorganised my storage system. Purchased a large metal shelving system and installed them in the basement to optimise the vertical spaces. The new setup made it easier for me to find and sort out old paintings to review — that is, to trash, paint over with oil ground, or to reimagine them. I found a few to do the latter.

This was a former automobile workshop and gas station on Walnut Street and Ways Lane parallel to the railroad tracks. It is now Works Kennett Square.

I adjusted the composition in the studio of this plein air painting from I think the summer of 2017. Nope, that was not a typo. I turned summer into winter. I do not have a title for this 10 by 12 inches painting yet.

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This one was also done en plain air in the summer of 2017. I do not have a title for this 8 by 10 inches painting yet. I was in the front car park of Krapf at the intersection of Birch and Walnut Streets in Kennett Square. It was hot and humid that summer. Fast forward to 2019, I adjusted the composition to better convey the feeling of that moment. I removed a few distracting background objects and increased the contrast of the fence by darkening it and adding some highlights.

In a perfect world, everything that we wish to accomplish turns out as envisioned. But this is not a perfect world. “Don’t cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.” (Who said this?)

This one was painted in 2015 looking out my bedroom window. The composition wasn’t working as the other two paintings (see previous paintings) I dug out of storage to see what I could do to make them work. But this one was a losing attempt. It was a failure. I've learned in the past to not to be afraid of failing because there is nothing wrong with failing. But there is a lot wrong with not trying. One could learn a lot from failures than from not trying. After working on it for about 3 hours, I finally conceded that it was doomed from the start. Painted over it with toned oil ground, which gave me a satisfying feeling. Next.

The Shack Along the Trail to Hawk Watch is the largest painting I've ever submitted, 30 by 40 inches. This studio painting was done I think in the summer of 2014 or maybe 2015. I reimagined this painting some months later as a winter scene. This was Ashland Nature Center in Hockessin, Delaware. As you walk from the car park area onto a trail leading up onto Hawk Watch, you might notice this shack hidden in the woods. It was quite run downed, and after the many storms that have blown over the area it might be flattened by now.

PS: I am still afraid to fail.