Gift, Sell, Keep, Upcycle

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?’.

4 thoughts on “Gift, Sell, Keep, Upcycle

  1. Yeah, but you can’t stop that feeling of inspiration, or at least you shouldn’t stop it. I think the canvas bag idea is brilliant. Once it’s stitched up, sign it again on the inside of the bag just in case your original signature ends up in an unreadable place. You can’t paint over your old unwantables?

    • I did consider over-painting, but I’m the opposite to most people in that I like a big white rectangle to start on. There’s also a chance my resolve will weaken when I come to paint over it. I need to do it now, while I’m feeling tough and determined!

      BTW, thanks for continuing to read my blog despite all the changes in my interests and the long break – and especially for commenting. It’s nice to know I’m not blogging into a vacuum!

    • Check out my painting gallery site (there’s a link in the sidebar). It has sizes and whether they’re for sale or not. When I’ve got the paintings back from the framer I’ll photograph them and update the pics. I might even do a separate blog post as well.

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