My question was: Are all paintings redeemable?
I looked at my picture in dismay. I had started with such enthusiasm, making stamps out of push pins and stencils from cardboard. This lesson we were looking at pattern and the slides our teacher showed us motivated me to explore. But the more I worked, the more everything seemed to slip away. The push pin stamp resulted in a stipple effect, far less precise than the shape I thought would come out. Paint seemed streaky and the three sections lacked cohesion. My teacher could see I was not at all impressed and gave me some helpful pointers, which I did incorporate. The result is better, not great.
Despite my love and respect for process and work, sometimes I would like to end up with something pleasing. I assumed this would happen with my abstract class since I have always preferred abstract art to figurative, it hasn't. I mentioned to my teacher that abstract work is deceptively difficult. With traditional techniques, if the apple you are painting, looks like an apple then you have some idea of progress. With abstract work however, there is often no reference, how do you know it's ready? That you're making any kind of progress creatively?
Innovation must be a lonely business. No wonder Van Gogh went mad. Imagine, striking out, doing something new and perhaps you sometimes are excited by it but there must also be times where you really do question whether you are on the right path.
In answer to the question: Are all paintings redeemable, my teacher responded that she thinks they are. She then went on to show me examples of painting she has reworked into bright woven squares. I wondered what the original pieces must've looked liked, a pointless thought. She had made them new and let the old creations die (for nothing that dies completely disappears).
John Updike claimed that everyday our old self is gone with the new day. We die, so how can we be afraid of death?
I don't know how we decide what to keep, what to throw away. I trust that at some point, I will know when to let it die, if need be.