There’s a state of grace that comes from being given a second chance -and another shot at old artwork. A method of self-critique many artists employ is to turn a questionable artwork to the wall…and leave it there, for years, if necessary. A few years in the limbo pile gives the eye time to refresh and some perspective to develop. Now (hopefully) the flaws can be seen- along with some sort of creative solution.
Perspective comes in many forms, including natural disasters. Artwork that came through the storm with no damage has been evaluated with a tougher eye for quality. The 21″ x 27″ pastel above was done in the studio from field sketches drawn alongside a burbling tributary of the mighty Amazon. It went on exhibit last year in “Drawing the Motmot” at the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History.
I pulled this big pastel from its sleeve and asked myself: Did I like it enough to keep it? The answer was no, not entirely. Meaning, I liked part of it, but not all of it.
I cut out the part I liked.
It got easier after that. More pieces have been pulled, evaluated and reworked. Sometimes it’s a go, other times the piece goes back into the drawer (my version of turning it to the wall) for another long spell. Sometimes it gets pitched.
Another direction is to turn lost works into new ones. A lost drawing of a black-breasted puffbird sketched on Barro Colorado Island was scanned before the storm. I redrew it onto specially prepared, hand-toned and shellacked Rives BFK paper. It’s a technique developed by the Old Masters back in the day, one I’ve been playing with, and it’s a beautiful and striking look. See what you think.
I’m getting ready to start a big new work on wood panel. It was delivered today off the back of a truck- a cradled birch panel measuring 5 feet by 4. I’ll hoist it onto the wall. I have some field sketches I’ve been playing with, and they’ll get drawn onto the panel once the gesso base has been layered on and sanded down . It will, at least, be sturdy. I’ll post progress as I go, but this one should be an adventure.