topiary cats

topiary cats

Saturday, May 30, 2015

I Have to Destroy A Painting

I have a painting that I started more than TEN (10) years ago.

Back when I was married, before I got pregnant, I had a very special friend from college who was getting married. As a gift, I was going to give them a portrait.  As soon as she told me she was getting married, I immediately went to Blick and got the nicest panel I could find. It was to be a layered glazed painting over a grisaille.  I finished the grisaille.

A lot of time went into this.  A lot of love, too.

Grisaille underpainting

And then I got pregnant.

When I was pregnant, something really strange and unpleasant happened to me. I couldn't make art. Of any kind. It had nothing to do with my materials, it had to do with the energy. Even thinking about painting, or doing any kind of art, made me throw up. Literally. It was so bad I couldn't even sketch in my sketchbook with a pencil.  It was like that part of me, that artist part, was just gone.  I couldn't feel it, couldn't find it. And if I tried I had a violent physical reaction.

Even when I am uninspired and my muse goes on vacation without me, I still am very aware of that core artist part of myself.  It is still there. It has always been there. I thought this is what non-artists must feel like, and it was very strange and alien.  I would never want to go through life like that.

But I knew it was because Daya required that energy. And it came back after she was born.

However, this circumstance prevented me from finishing this painting in time for the wedding.

And then my marriage fell apart while I was pregnant and I had a terrible awful pregnancy and then I had the baby and two weeks after that I had to move in an emergency and I then was alone with a newborn and then the friend whose gift this was dumped me.

She never knew about the painting.

So it forever remains unfinished. I have been holding onto it all these years meaning to destroy it.  I was going to destroy it and throw it out, but it is done on a really nice birch panel.  I don't know yet if I should re-use the panel because of the association it holds for me. It makes me feel very, very sad.

NOTE: Always, ALWAYS destroy a painting before throwing it out.  It has happened to other artists before that they threw out their work and someone else took it and refused to give it back. If you do not want a possibility of your trash-work being out there, destroy it permanently.

Now, though, it is time to put an end to it.  I'm not sure yet what I will do with the panel.  Just in case I reuse it, I'm putting titanium white oil paint over it instead of destroying and rendering it un-useable with gesso.  The under-painting is all thin layers of oils and liquin and has been drying for 10 years, so it's definitely completely cured. (FYI for any paint geeks out there- it didn't yellow at all, even after being in the dark for years!!)

I also did a few glaze layers, apparently.  Having this back on the easel was very, very weird.  It is a relic of a different, distant lifetime, a different person, but still me.

And now it is officially erased.  
It really is a very nice panel. Lovely surface, 
Especially now that it is essentially oil-primed.

Card today: Field of Dreams (reversed)

My Interpretation: Dreams that never manifest, nightmares, too much daydreaming

Booklet says:  "Your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs are always engaging the vast field of pure potential." Are your dreams yours or someone else's?Asess the validity of your dreams, do not be afraid of them. Nature self-corrects.  You can always clear the ground for new and better things.


  1. What an interesting history this panel has, it deserves to be turned into something new and fabulous - you will have grown a lot in those 10 years and your art will have too.

    I look forward to seeing what you do with it now!

  2. We always learn something from tragic events in our lives. Like the card says 'You can always clear the ground for new and better things'. You have cleared the ground; now go on to better things.

  3. Sometimes it's necessary to move on and close a certain chapter of your life.


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