Its ok to hate your paintings (sometimes)

My husband often tells me I am too hard on myself where painting is concerned. “You should have a bit more confidence in your talent” he tells me. While I appreciate and love him for this, I do not entirely agree. It is precisely because I do have faith in my abilities that I am so hard on myself and my paintings. This reminds me of an anecdote about Tom Thomson’s friends being horrified to see him flick lit matches in disgust at piles of his finished canvases. If such a genius hated his work from time to time, certainly an amateur like myself is (much more) entitled to do so.

My painting means a lot to me and I want desperately to improve. This means pushing myself, and yes, sometimes despising my creations. The fact that my husband or anybody else sees the painting as “good” matters surprisingly little. If I don’t like it and cannot bear looking at it, it is either painted over or binned.

This is far more positive a thing than it sounds. The lessons learned from a bad painting can help identify what works and does not, what direction you want to go in and what you want to say with your work. Also, strangely enough, destroying a bad painting can be therapeutic. Nobody should be tied to ugly, badly done art simply because it was made by their own hands. This is not kindergarten. Be done with it and move on, I say! There is a whole world of art out there to create.  In among the amateurs’ dung heap there will eventually, increasingly, be a few gems.

Be gone - ugly paint baby! Canvas was subsequently re-incarnated to something more acceptable.
Be gone – ugly paint baby! Canvas was subsequently re-incarnated to something more acceptable.

 

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