The trouble with being an artist, is people want all your good paintings, so you get stuck with all the bad ones.
Well that’s not entirely true (and it’s not the only troublesome thing about being an artist!) The ratio of paintings I have is more like 20% bad or so-so, 50% good, 30% I-can’t-believe-how-good-they-turned-out-fabulous.
The good ones that aren’t snapped up by friends and family are the troublesome ones. They’re the ones that hang about, taking up space, because they’re too good to toss out. The ones I always think I should try to sell but never get around to because, honestly, selling art is a pain in the *rse. To sell them, you’ve go to get them framed, too, and then hope they’re saleable enough to at least recoup the frame price. Now that makes you reconsider how good you think a painting is.
(You can probably tell that the mood that’s had me review my to-read pile and rearrange the studio has found another target.)
I’ve come to a few decisions:
Firstly, I’ve taken a pile of paintings to a framing shop. Four are ones I want to keep, seven are ones I want to find homes for. Most of them I never got framed at the time because, well, that was back when I was a starving illustrator and I couldn’t afford framing.
Secondly, I’ve dealt with the bad ones. If they were on canvas, I’ve ripped it off the frame and are putting new canvas on. If they’re on board, I’m taking them out of the frame so I can use it for something else. (There are a couple of interesting uses old painted canvas can be put to, like these bags by Swarm. I’ve always wanted to buy some kitschy old oil paintings from op shops and sew them into a jacket, too, but for now I’m thinking I’ll try a considerably less ambitious tote bag.)
Thirdly, I’m adding hanging wires, signing those I forgot to sign, and getting them all hang-ready as well as updating my Painting Gallery.
Fourthly, I’m putting them up on the mantle piece, so friends have a last chance to adopt one.
Fifthly, I’m looking for community art shows to put them in.
I’m hoping that a little of the ‘out with the old’ will lead to some ‘in with the new’ when it comes to inspiration and ideas. But at a basic level, it’ll be nice to not always have the excuse of ‘why paint more paintings when I don’t have room for what I’ve already got?’.