After I’ve completed a painting or sketch it normally gets left up on a little picture shelf in my front room, alongside whatever creations my daughter has brought home from nursery that week. It will generally loiter around for a week or two, or until I’ve done something new, and it’s a great chance to just ‘live’ with it for a short period of time before it gets hidden away in cupboard somewhere. I really like this little process that’s developed because it’s like having an ever changing gallery, and I really like having the opportunity to reflect on my latest efforts – what’s worked, what’s weak, how would I do it differently if I was to do it again.

So. A friend that we haven’t seen for a while came round to dinner recently and, seeing a recent Edward Wesson inspired work on display, said how much they liked it and that they’d very much like to have it, even down to knowing exactly where in their flat they’d like to hang it.

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Naturally I was both delighted and flattered – but I was also quite surprised at just how ungracious I was too! I’d lived with this painting for a few days at this point and, whilst there were some elements of it that I really liked, there were also a good few that I didn’t like so much. I was happy with it as a sketch, but I felt uncomfortable with the idea of it being hung on a wall.

My discomfort resulted in me offering to do another version of the painting that would give me the opportunity to improve on some of the areas that I thought were weak. Then at least I feel I’d be able to offer some degree of choice into the proceedings.

The funny thing I next experienced was that my entire mindset was now different. Gone was any carefree abandon of doing this with a sense of ‘what will be will be’. Now I was approaching the same image with an expectation that ‘what will be will be, but it had better be better’.

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Once again, there were elements of this version that I liked more than the original, in particular the distant hill bottom right, and the smaller tree in the bottom right, however I didn’t think that the foreground was as successful, or the sense of depth and perspective towards the line of distant trees. I also felt ‘tight’ whilst I was painting it too and somehow feel that it shows.

So there was nothing for it then but to try again!  This time, I didn’t do any under-drawing whatsoever – thinking that this may help a more relaxed approach. This did help, although having two previous versions to refer to made this easier. I definitely felt more relaxed when I painted this, and I like to think it shows too. Now what I’d ideally like to do is to take my favourite bits from each attempt and montage them together… but that’s simply never going to happen, let alone work. I’m also not going to go for a fourth attempt!

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What I am now pleased about is that I can at least offer our friend a bit of choice, which I somehow find comforting. I think that the other valuable lesson that I’ve learnt through this, is  that I need to do a painting and then just ‘Let it go’ (I’m sure you were wondering when the title of this post was going to come into play!)

I need to be able to do a painting and then let it go. If someone likes it, then great, and who am I to try to dissuade them! (Just for the record though, I’d love to know which of these three versions you might like the most?)

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First time lucky
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Second time lucky
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Third time lucky
So – finally – in honour of my daughter without whom I’d probably still be blissfully ignorant of this song, and because I can’t help but derive some perverse pleasure from establishing the most tentative of links between my passion for painting and the global Disney phenomenon that is Frozen – here’s the video of ‘Let it go’, my new mantra.

Next time anyone expresses an opinion, positive or negative, I shall be doing my utmost to channel my inner Elsa, perhaps flouncing on the inside but remaining gracious and implacable on the surface!

 

13 thoughts on “ Let it go, let it go

  1. it is Lovely to see tree foliage painted like this! calming and soothing and balanced.
    Loose and free! big blocks of shapes! vs the itsy individual leaf by leaf….with 7 different vibrant colors.

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    1. So nice to read your comments! I can’t begin to tell you how terrified of painting trees I’ve been in the past (although must confess to still being fearful of tackling forests!) Still trying to learn from the masters but am at last willing to endure the failures in pursuit of the successes!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Quite so! and I’m beginning to cope better with the disappointment that accompanies my failures and am now able to see them as an essential part of my journey. Must confess that I’m looking forward to increasing amounts of resolution though!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello John. So much of this is familiar to me. I leave paintings where I can see them for a few days too, so that I can reassess them. There is always the danger of over-working them though, and if I try another version it nearly always feels less free. Similarly, I find commissions difficult because inevitably I feel more tense.
    I have been surprised how often other people like paintings that I don’t think are my best. Maybe we are too close to the process, and know when a painting hasn’t gone the way we would like, even if it isn’t obvious to other people. I think the secret, as you have found, is to be prepared to ‘let it go’.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Keith – thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment. I still fear that letting go may be something that’s easier said than done – and as for tackling the expectations of a commission, well I’ve probably got a long way to go before I’ll ever feel ‘loose’ in that situation! Some great work on your site too and I hope you won’t mind that I’ve added my name to your email list! Hope that you can drop by again sometime. All the best

      Like

    1. Thanks so much for visiting and your kind and encouraging words – and speaking of words – hats off to you and your blog! Some wonderful writing and imagery that I can see is inspiring to so many of your visitors!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. John, thank you so much. I am very happy you went over for a visit. I appreciate your support. You are a master with the brush and I feel inspired to continue experimenting with minimalist expression. Have a great Wednesday.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Haha! Good on ya Elsa 👏😄

    Got a pretty good idea which is my favorite but look forward to seeing them in the flesh…

    B xxx

    Bec Britain Streatham Festival Coordinator Arts Manager, Artist, Bookbinder

    >

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aha – I wondered if you’d see this!! Well they’re all safely stashed away in a cupboard somewhere now awaiting your next visit! Look forward to seeing you soon and – note to self – whichever you prefer is just fine by me! x

      Like

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