Monday, April 16, 2007

OK is not enough

I destroyed some of my old pieces today - work that was no good and couldn't be "fixed" with another layer of paint or collage. I used to carry these to show after show but never put them up on the wall because I didn't like them. As I was doing my inventory today it struck me that I didn't even want to count a couple of the paintings. Talk about negative energy, these pieces were literally dragging me down they were that bad. And I started to think about that.

Why would I even keep work that I dislike so much?

When I couldn't find a reason, destruction made sense. So I slashed them, right through the canvas with my knife. I ripped off layer after layer. It was violent yet felt powerfully symbolic. Then I made a pact with myself........I must insist on a certain standard for my work, a standard of truth that I (and only I) can set. I cannot deviate even if I am crazed to meet a deadline. Even if I need to quickly build inventory for a show. Even if other people might find the work acceptable, it doesn't matter.

I remember a teacher of mine talking about this years ago, about how she would burn failed paintings. At the time I thought it was nuts as I didn't think anything she did could ever be deemed "failed."

But now I understand.


  1. This is an awesomely insightful post. Good food for thought as I am in a period of trying to raise my own awareness of the quality I am putting into my work. Thanks for sharing these thoughts!

  2. the letting go is quite freeing. sometimes you have to admit that a piece is wrong to feel right again.


  3. Wow, this has to be your best post EVER! Thanks for sharing your growth, it is inspiring. I'm going to go look for my box cutter now....


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