Maybe the first thing to do to get back into painting, or making any art, is to clean up the studio. My space had become a place that I didn't even want to be in, let alone make art in. I didn't even like looking in the open door. Why have I saved every yogurt container, every jar. Certainly some will be handy…but 50?
I've been reading, "Scaling Down, Living Large in a smaller space" by Judi Culbertson and Marj Decker for a few years now. It's my bathroom book. Does everyone have one of those? Anyway, my digestion must be pretty good, because the book has been there forever. They suggest (we've all heard this before) making separate piles. Trash. Recycling. Keep.
It hasn't been that hard, except for the bad paintings. Usually you can paint over a painting that you no longer like. However, if I got run over by a truck tomorrow, would my family know which paintings I was planning on recycling into new and better art? I saw a Degas exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Arts a few years ago, and I'm sure some of the sketches were never intended for the public.
So here's the plan.
1. Put all of those art tragedies together in a pile or box that says "not for public consumption," or "trash," some indicator that you don't ever want these shown. Will your family toss them? Or think they're precious? Hmmm, what if they toss the really good ones?
2. The next step is to gesso up the watermedia pieces, melt down the encaustics, paint over the oils.
3. Really icky paintings…remove the canvas from the stretchers and toss the bad work.
I spent some time squeezing closed tubes, shaking bottles of liquid acrylics on the hunt for hard, dried up old paint to toss.
So am I ready to paint. Maybe, but first I have a whole bunch of cucumbers to pick.