Kinney Lake, 30x30, acrylic painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki

The stormy weather seems to have turned off the summer here in Vancouver area.  Last Saturday we had no power and dark clouds prevented any meaningful work in the studio. The perfect time for a purge!

 It’s amazing how much substandard stuff accumulates in the studio while the good ones get finished and sent out.  Many of them are just experiments and exercises which I like to keep as a reminder of some particular technique or a material I don’t often use, but quite a few that were still hanging on the walls suffered incurable illnesses. Here are a couple of examples.

Lack of Clarity

When you have to ask yourself repeatedly - what is this painting about anyway? - chances are that you have a case of missing clarity. The best works embody an idea which is supported by the composition, colors, texture, any number of elements we add to our work. But sometimes the idea just fails to gel. I have two versions of a scene featuring a bunch of cows in a sun-dappled pasture. The scene captivated me so strongly that I made two versions of it, but when I look at them I feel confused – what is this about?  There is something about the whole thing that bothers me – is it the cows, the patterns, the colors, I don’t really know. I keep going back to them again and again trying to change various aspects of the paintings. After a while it’s becoming obvious that the puzzle has become a distraction and it’s time to move on.

Faulty Materials

Poor choice of the support is where things most often go wrong for me. I recently noticed that a 30x40 canvas was too thin for the acrylic texture I’ve been working with. As a result, the painting started to sag and the only way to save it would be to glue the whole thing onto a large board, and I don’t really want to do that because all my large works are on stretched canvases.  It’s quite a disappointment to realize that all the work on this painting went to waste just because I didn’t notice the canvas was inadequate before I started. Lesson learned – always make sure all the materials are top notch.

So I spent a day sifting through unfinished works and making a refuse pile, while my significant other was taking them back, pleading for mercy, and offering to buy them from me. At the end I agreed to keep a few as long as they are kept out of my sight, and the curator agreed to help dispose of the rest. It’s a deal! 

The next day the power was back and a fresh new (sturdy) canvas found its place on the easel. Now what will this painting be about?