Memory Lane Art

Alpine Meadow, acrylic, 24x20, original painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki, now available in the Buckland Southerst Gallery in West Vancouver, BC

Have you ever searched for a file for hours, not finding it, or finding wrong versions of it? Ugh, it happens to me all the time. It's especially frustrating when I can't find a photo of a painting in my archive. I've aimlessly searched one time too many and finally decided to bite the bullet and put it in order once and for all (I hope).  I've been storing jpegs of paintings in yearly folders which had turned into a huge mess over time, so last year I went through everything and moved each painting's images into a separate folder. It's perfect - I thought. I was wrong. There are now numerous versions of each painting, some misfiled pics, and there is no information on what happened with the actual paintings. Yikes! It's a lot of work to sort this out, and no app will do it by itself. Every single folder and file needs to be sifted through and cleaned up. I am adding a simple text file for each painting, briefly describing what I think happened to it. The next step will be to dig out the actual records and fill in the blanks.

That was the bad news. The good news is that while doing all this, I get to see my entire body of work over a few decades. I am now thinking of finding a way to make all those images available for viewing because I am always fascinated to see how other artists' work evolves over years, influenced by the change in their interests but also by the changes they experience in their environment. I have noticed how my subject matter has shifted from urban themes to the images inspired by nature threatened by urbanization, and from the human scale to open vistas. By looking at my work, it's quite clear what direction my concerns have taken over the years of my journey. I included here a few examples from my memory lane.

Night Lights, acrylic painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki (2008)

It strikes me how much love and care there is in all this work, and how little significance there is in the frustrations that accompanied it. I found numerous pics of the same painting being re-worked over and over again and I remember how unsatisfied I was with the earlier versions, and how hard I worked to make it all "perfect". The truth is that after staring at these versions I see a very little difference. In many cases an earlier version is just as strong as the end result. I hope I learned something by doing all that work, because it sure wasn't for the benefit of the painting.

Granville Marina, acrylic painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki (2008)

I understand that in some cases the limitations of the photo stand in the way of seeing what I was after - sometimes it's the quality of the finish which is only visible in the real life, and sometimes I just wanted a slightly different color effect, which can be very subtle yet satisfying to get just so. Still, I have to admit that bottom line, looking at the big picture, the time invested may not have justified the effort. I wish I made more paintings instead.

Bow River, Banff, acrylic painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki (2009)

Another thing that came into view was the body of works sold. Those sales never feel fast enough, yet on the whole, having a couple of hundred paintings out there in the world, feels incredible. The thought of all the inspiration, joy, passion, reflected in all these objects of love, now being parts of lives of so many people and their families - that is truly humbling. Inconspicuously, one by one little thing left my studio and wondered out and found a home, and now there are so many out there in the world and they live their lives on their own just fine. I am overjoyed!

Yoho River Last Light, acrylic painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki (2007)

 I do and I don't wonder where they are. I'd love to know that they are being enjoyed and cared for, but I am fully aware that they are not mine any more. They are immersed in the lives of their owners where they have gained insights and meanings that the artist could never have imagined. I have learned that a work of art doesn't get completed in the studio, no matter how many times it is worked and re-worked by the artist. The art gets completed by those who enjoy it, and that way, every art lover is an artist too. This painting, for example, was purchased as a wedding gift for a young couple - early blooming cherry trees - how appropriate!

Cherry Trees in Stanley Park, acrylic painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki (2006)

I would recommend that you take time to enjoy a memory lane of your own, you never know what brilliant insights you may find in your own work.