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Mstechart
03-12-2010, 12:03 AM
Have you ever trashed a piece when it at one time seemed you were about 60-70% done?

I just did that :( I've been so inspired to do another portrait and of the cutest little baby boy "Rylan" looking at himself in a mirror.

It started out so great. I've been reading so many books and threads on this site and learning so much. I thought -- this is going to be a great piece. It WAS -- the eyes were perfect --everything was going great. Then I kept fooling with skin tone and worked the surface too many times -- pastel on -- pastel off -- pastel on. Finally the surface just became unusable -- I couldn't do anything.

I was using Ampersand's pastelbord. Now just on the baby's face, the board feels smooth -- no tooth.

I'm crushed. I was loving it and then I ruined it. I have traced it and will go again -- this time I think with Wallis paper.

Is this just me -- or have you ever had this happen to you?

ooooooooooo

Lynndidj
03-12-2010, 01:18 AM
Oh Sandie - yes it happened to me on Canson paper. I can't believe it happened on pastelboard though!! You know, I do watercolor as well as pastel, and with watercolor you need to put it down and let it do it's thing - get in and get out with the brush. It is much harder not to fuss and fuss with pastel because you brush it off and try again ... I think we all need to tell ourselves to back away from the easel every once and a while. I need to post it on my easel, personally.

I would suggest that you take a break from this painting - don't immediately try again. Do something else a little more freeing like a simple landscape or a small still life. Get yourself a little looser and then go back and give it a go. That is what I did, and the second time was the charm. On a different surface!!!

Hang in there!!

Lynn

adventureartist
03-12-2010, 01:29 AM
Of course! Part of the gig. After decades of boo boos you learn a LOT. :D Eventually you learn to stop, walk away, or put it away before the point of no return and eventually get back to it with fresh eyes. Frustration is a good red flag, it can help you recognize when step back and take a break instead of continuing to make matters worse.

rasberry
03-12-2010, 03:30 AM
definitely.. one of my best drawings was a do over.. but i took a week off before i started it again.. otherwise you risk being burnt out on the piece and rushing the start which is never good..
I never regretted starting again.. but dont bin the first one as you can keep it for further reference as something to learn from..
I'm sorry that happened to your pastel though.. perhaps do this one as a wip so people can help along the way if need be..
Naomi

Dea
03-12-2010, 04:33 AM
That happened with the last portrait I did, sometimes I think a lot of tooth is a bad thing, it gives us too much chance to mess it up:) I didn't bin mine, I left there to remind me next time.

Deanna

deb9654
03-12-2010, 07:23 AM
I haven't had it happen with pastels yet because I'm too new to them and haven't done any great ones, but I have done it in watercolor, acrylics and most recently encaustics. With the encaustics, that heat gun is a weapon! I'd do just a little more....ok, this will be the last shot....bang, wax all messed up! I've ruined a couple I really loved by just not putting the darn thing down. But be encouraged. It's all part of the process and you know in your heart you did fabulous eyes and you can do it again!

Colorix
03-12-2010, 07:34 AM
Got a drawer packed with them... :-)

I keep them, as it is still rewarding to see now and then how much I've developed since. And when I tire of that, I can brush the blooper off and reuse the paper. Meaning, don't trash them, use them, for boosting yourself (later).

Charlie

Lisa M
03-12-2010, 10:17 AM
I have a little corner in the basement which I call the "graveyard." There hang a few paintings that I never finished or didn't like enough to frame. I did, however, revise three of those after a year or so of improvement with pastels, and one of them sold almost immediately at a local coffee house/gallery. So--if you haven't ripped up the paper yet, don't! You may use it again some day for something.

allydoodle
03-12-2010, 10:28 AM
Oh my, YES! I've made more for the garbage bin than the frame! :mad: I keep telling myself that each failure is a learning curve, and to just apply what I've learned what not to do on my next endeavor! My mentor always says it is a good thing when I make garbage - that means I'm trying something different and new, and I'm growing as an artist. He says if we get too comfortable in what we are doing, then the paintings we do get boring and predictable. I think he is right. Sometimes it helps me feel better, and sometimes it doesn't - especially when I'm feeling sorry for myself :( . I'ts very hard, because when you have such a positive feeling about a piece you are working on, and you "just know" it's going to work, and then it doesn't, well, Ughhhhh......... WHAT WAS I THINKING!:eek:

I would suggest that you take a break from this painting - don't immediately try again. Do something else a little more freeing like a simple landscape or a small still life. Get yourself a little looser and then go back and give it a go. That is what I did, and the second time was the charm. On a different surface!!!

I think Lynn's advice is right on, go to something entirely different, then return to the painting with fresh eyes.

robertsloan2
03-12-2010, 10:30 AM
Hmm. I think the only difference in my habits is that I don't trash failed paintings. I just stash them and try again. I date them when I stash them.

I got the idea back in the 80s from "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain," where the author mentioned to date everything you do, even if you hate it. That way looking back later on, you can see how much you've improved.

This has saved countless drawings that weren't bad, were just unfinished. I'd look back later on and realize "Oh, it just needs me to push the darks" or "Oh, it needs more shading" or another color glazed or something -- and wham, it was saved.

Other times I'll look at absolute "I can't believe I did that!" favorites from years past and wince. I may have to paint a reef soon, since I did one in colored pencil that used to be an "OMG it's fantastic" but I'm now seeing its flaws.

Everything gets stuffed in a portfolio or archival box or cheap presentation book I got from Blick. I got decent art storage so that I would still actually be able to see my lousier works from years ago ... because of those hidden unfinished gems that I would have thrown out if I didn't learn to stash them instead.

saramathewson
03-12-2010, 12:45 PM
If the tooth is gone on the pastelbord, try putting a couple of coats of clear colorfix primer on it. works like a dream! sometimes 3-4 coats are needed depending on how much tooth you like:)

Sara

allydoodle
03-12-2010, 06:10 PM
Just to clarify, these days, with sandpaper, I do save all the "garbage" and happily rework them into hopefully a better piece. I learned on Canson MT smooth side years ago, and as we all know, once you have reached the point of no return with that paper, you must move on. Canson has it's uses in the sketch world, and I still use it regularly for that purpose, but I love reclaimed sandpaper!

Potoma
03-12-2010, 07:38 PM
Just like Lynn said, standing back and frequent breaks help so you don't get that "I CAN and WILL fix it" attitude.

My ex-husband had a boss one time who had every exercise machine known to man. My ex-husband used to quip that his boss was always one machine away from the perfect body.

I often think of this when I need to put breaks on myself, whether it's another set of pastels I don't really need or it's that final, final, final touch a painting doesn't really need.

PS - When I paint outside, I also use the notebooks put out by Dakota called KOOOL binders. They serve as a great surface to work on and provide great protection carrying paintings around. Having extra ones is very handy for storing the borderliners and stinkers. I figure the stinkiness might wear off or perhaps I can crop some for small works exhibits. That is one benefit to working on paper.

DAK723
03-12-2010, 09:15 PM
Is this just me -- or have you ever had this happen to you?


Yes, pretty much every time I do a portrait or figure! You can always fiddle with pastel, adding layers and reworking, and that is both good and bad. Sometimes you have to say - "I know I can make it better, but I won't; this is good enough!"

Now, if I could just start taking my own advice!

Sorry to hear this happened!

Don

Paula Ford
03-12-2010, 11:21 PM
Sandie, We've all been there!

May I ask, how were you taking the pastel off of the pastelbord?

prestonsega
03-13-2010, 12:08 AM
Have you ever trashed a piece when it at one time seemed you were about 60-70% done?


Yep..did it today..I feel your pain.

sketchZ1ol
03-13-2010, 10:46 AM
hello. I have a boxful of duds on paper - recycle the back of 'em for mixes/thumbnails. Those go in another box!
That's the kind of Clutter Buddy I'd be. :lol:
Thank goodness I don't do murals, although maybe I'd get rich owning property. (!?!)
:) E

robertsloan2
03-13-2010, 11:49 AM
I can just see that, buying up a row of townhouses one at a time and moving on when the walls are full of murals. Maybe renting the painted ones out by theme. "Waterscapes," "Southwest," "Mountains" and so on, it'd be crazy.

But if I had a lot of money I'd probably do it to my house, every room would have murals.

sketchZ1ol
03-13-2010, 12:42 PM
hello.
Yeah. Lemonade from lemons.

Mstechart
03-13-2010, 04:24 PM
Oh Sandie - yes it happened to me on Canson paper. I can't believe it happened on pastelboard though!! You know, I do watercolor as well as pastel, and with watercolor you need to put it down and let it do it's thing - get in and get out with the brush. It is much harder not to fuss and fuss with pastel because you brush it off and try again ... I think we all need to tell ourselves to back away from the easel every once and a while. I need to post it on my easel, personally.

I would suggest that you take a break from this painting - don't immediately try again. Do something else a little more freeing like a simple landscape or a small still life. Get yourself a little looser and then go back and give it a go. That is what I did, and the second time was the charm. On a different surface!!!

Hang in there!!

Lynn

Great advice Lynn -- yea, the second time will be on Wallis -- but yes, taking a break from it for a while.

THANK YOU for the advice.

Mstechart
03-13-2010, 04:26 PM
Of course! Part of the gig. After decades of boo boos you learn a LOT. :D Eventually you learn to stop, walk away, or put it away before the point of no return and eventually get back to it with fresh eyes. Frustration is a good red flag, it can help you recognize when step back and take a break instead of continuing to make matters worse.

I think I now understand why most artists have more than one piece going at a time huh? Maybe this is a kind of 'graduation' for me and I'm now at the point of realizing that some pieces require a "pause" and during that time do as Lynn suggested and work on something completely different.

Great advice from everyone and I greatly appreciate it!

Mstechart
03-13-2010, 04:29 PM
I have a little corner in the basement which I call the "graveyard." There hang a few paintings that I never finished or didn't like enough to frame. I did, however, revise three of those after a year or so of improvement with pastels, and one of them sold almost immediately at a local coffee house/gallery. So--if you haven't ripped up the paper yet, don't! You may use it again some day for something.

Now I LOVE this term "graveyard" -- great idea !

Mstechart
03-13-2010, 04:36 PM
Sandie, We've all been there!

May I ask, how were you taking the pastel off of the pastelbord?

Sure Paula -- I was mostly using old painting brushes (art paint brushes -- soft, light)......then I jumped in with a kneaded eraser on the evening I should have left it alone and was determined to take all the pastel off. That is probably where it finally went smooth.

Mstechart
03-16-2010, 11:10 PM
well, the second attempt is underway and I feel that I have completely lost the ability to use pastels!!! I have no clue what has happened to me but I'm just lost. Seems I put the pastels on and they don't blend and I'm afraid I'm not putting enough on and then I think I've filled the tooth. This is crazy!! I feel like just crying.

allydoodle
03-16-2010, 11:49 PM
Awww Sandie, I feel bad. If it makes you feel any better, I just did a stinker today, and holy smokes was it a real stinker! :lol:

Did you change subject matter? I mean, just paint something different. Don't try to do that same subject right now. Leave it for another time, and try something else. For me, that definitely works. It gives me a new perspective, and maybe I even learn something new that I can apply to the one I am struggling with. Give this a thought, maybe it will help you too. Just don't cry :crying: - remember, and say to yourself, "it's only paper, and I can always get more!" Also, this is a learning curve, and maybe the next painting you do will be your best ever!

HANG IN THERE! :thumbsup:

Potoma
03-17-2010, 12:16 AM
Sandie,
Try a watercolor or pastel underpainting. Half the work is done for you - or more! Then you just graze the top.

Paula Ford
03-17-2010, 12:25 AM
Sandie,

Would you do me a favor? The next time you plan to paint, please put on some soft music (bring up my website and listen to the music there) and relax for a few minutes, clear your mind, sing if you are listening to something familiar, then warm up by doing some sketches of the scene. Do this until you realize that all the cares of the outside world are gone. Just sketch, nothing fancy, no detail, just sketch. Work out the composition of your scene. With each new sketch, thumbnail, take what you like from the last one and get rid of what you don't like. Do thumbnail sketches until you have completely worked out the composition of your next piece. Now you are ready to paint. Take your time, don't get in a hurry, think about all the things you have learned. Refer back to your final thumbnail often. Make sure your music is still going in the background.

Please let me know if this has helped. I know what it's like to feel what you're feeling right now. It is frustrating and sadening. Please just relax... we are here for you.

Paula Ford
03-17-2010, 12:30 AM
Sure Paula -- I was mostly using old painting brushes (art paint brushes -- soft, light)......then I jumped in with a kneaded eraser on the evening I should have left it alone and was determined to take all the pastel off. That is probably where it finally went smooth.

Having used Ampersand Pastelbord for a long time now, the only way I take pastel off its surface is with a foam brush or an old bristle brush. All it needs is a few flicks and it's off. Pastel stains its surface immediately after applying so you will never get down to the original color of the board. Be a bit more gentle with it and don't think you have to take off every layer.

Lynndidj
03-17-2010, 01:23 AM
Sandie: I second Paula's suggestion. I just looked at your website and you do lovely work. You are having a bad spell. An off day. A brain fart for lack of a better term!!! May I also suggest doing something that requires very little drawing - just blocks of color (do the whole working out the composition thing like Paula suggested) but just play with the pastel and the colors and just RELAX!!! Experiment - no expectations!!

I will tell you a brief story. I was painting PA doing a farmhouse with an absolutely gorgeous Japanese maple tree about 30 feet tall. The light was filtering through that tree and the color was SO spectacular. I was painting in watercolor and had gone through the transferring of my drawing to the paper, painting the shadows and details of the house when what I really wanted to do was paint that TREE!! I was so frustrated that I messed up the whole painting when I finally got to the tree. I simply did not have the patience to do it right. I was so mad, that I took a fresh sheet of Arches and my palette and the biggest brush I could find and just started throwing paint wet into wet onto the paper in all the colors of the tree ... and it turned out really awesome!! Literally throwing on the paint, every beautiful shade of red and orange and fuschia and magenta I could find. My PA friends gathered around me and started laughing at the fun I was having! Somehow it was very cathartic for me. Later on I transferred the drawing to another piece of paper and re-did the painting - but it was much later - like months. The moral of my story is that sometimes you just need to let go - get really loose and just focus on color and having fun and get rid of the frustration. If you have watercolors at home I would suggest doing a full sheet and wet into wet and go totally abstract - every color you can think of. From what I saw on your website you tend to paint like I do - very carefully and controlled - let that go - just go crazy!!! Or at least allow yourself to be loose and abstract in pastel. Anyway, I hope this helps. Know you are not the only one this happens to - we ALL have these times. I really do recommend the throwing of the paint though ... :-)

Lynn

Mstechart
03-17-2010, 01:54 PM
You all are the best -- I wish I could hug each and every one of you!!!!!!!

Well, I went to bed with a headache -- I don't get headaches! I had the headache all night -- tossed and turned. STILL have the headache so something is surely going on in my body. I took today off work -- just need to hang out at home. Slept late -- trying to rest. Thought about my art.

Funny that Paula suggested music -- I play music every time I go to my art room -- except for last night! Weird! AND Paula, I had also told myself this morning that I just needed to spend some time sketching -- can you believe that? and Lynn -- I actually thought about doing exactly as you suggested too -- just taking some paper and pastel and just doing something abstract -- and you are also correct that I paint very controlled.

I also thought about my art space and went in this morning and rearranged some things -- which was needed. I threw that first trashed piece out --which also made me feel better.

I did look at the "Rylan" portrait and see that what I'm missing is the dark values. Almost like I was afraid to use burnt umbers......and we all know that the values make our art!!!

So, today I'm taking tylenol to rid this headache, relaxing (reading forums here on WetCanvas -- including some of the classes), and I will go to my favorite place shortly -- the front porch swing -- and just SKETCH! With graphite and charcoal :-)

Thank you all SOOOOOOO MUCH for this support. It feels so much better to know that I'm not completely losing it -- and that others do go through this. I think this just emphasizes that when I'm not feeling well I need to stay away from the pastels :-)

HUGS to each of you!!!!

Lynndidj
03-17-2010, 08:45 PM
Sandie - you are most welcome. Remind me of everything I just said when I come on this site and am losing it!!!

Lynn

Paula Ford
03-17-2010, 09:03 PM
Sandie - you are most welcome. Remind me of everything I just said when I come on this site and am losing it!!!

Lynn

:lol: yea, me too!