Some paintings go from idea to finished work quickly and fluidly. Plenty of others get started and then cast aside, lingering around the studio in a half-finised state. Over time I manage to figure out some of these pieces, but there are always those that continue to stick around, not making their resolutions obvious to me while also not inspiring me to give up on them all together. Every once in a while I have to declare a “finish it or ruin it” week to deal with these misfits.
I gather up all the unresolved pieces in my studio and get to work. My goal for each one is simple: either resolve the piece, or ruin it trying. It’s always delightful when I manage to produce a few good paintings this way, but even the ruined ones have their value. Failed pieces can teach me a lot about composition, color palettes, the limits of my materials, and more.
This week I took up two pieces I started way back in Gardenstown. They consisted of some image transfers and thin washes of acrylic paints on watercolor paper, and I had managed to ignore them for quite a while, not really sure what to do with them next. I taped them onto a drawing board and started in on them, rather confident that they were going to end up in the ‘ruined’ pile. Several layers of acrylics and pencil later, and I’m quite happy with how they turned out.