Thursday, 15 October 2009


I hate it when I waste hours on a piece that goes wrong, I lose interest or faith in it midway through, or maybe my concentration lapses and I end up ruining it beyond the point of no return. It's a relief to get rid of these things, but sometimes it takes courage too. It's difficult to admit that I've made mistakes, and that basically I've wasted energy materials and time (all expensive) on something that is never going to be more than an embarrassment.

Sometimes being hard on myself is a relief. Other times, of course, it causes me grief to be so hard on myself, especially when the thing I've had to admit is not working is something I've invested heavily in.

Until recently once a piece was destroyed or disposed of, it was gone forever, but since the advent of digital photography, and my own habit of recording progress, this decision has had the edge of finality take off it. These days, if I thow something away, or decide to paint over it again, the failure continues to exist, like a digital ghost,on my computer's hardrive.

Here are a few of the failures, dredged up from the digital ether to glimmer for a while, like Victorian cotton wool wraithes at a seance.

As for my most recent failure (I painted over a piece yesterday that I'd been pleased with a couple of days before. Now it turns out that it was the stage of development I'd been pleased with, and not the piece itself at all) I've not posted it here yet, as I'm not certain whether the ghost can be made to work for me in some way. I have to think about it first.

As for the living, I'm working on several pieces now, all at various stages of development, each an experiment, mostly coloured pencil on various kinds of base; stretched Ingres paper, stretched cartridge or watercolour paper, hardboard, mounting board treated with gesso.

More about these later.

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