VAST Weekly Discussion Thread -- October 16 to 21

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Original Post

Hello Etsians! (or should that be, "aVAST ye, maties?"

I was organizing the pieces of work I have for sale, when I came across this poor, sad, (justly) abandoned object.

I remembered that we had started to discuss, some months back, our failed pieces of art, and I thought I'd post it and see if other people want to chime in on how we know when something is "good" or "bad", (or, perhaps, more or less successful).

I'll start:

I love overpainting photos, but this one was doomed from the start, because I chose a bad photo. The angle wasn't bold enough, and the photo itself was quite dark. In an effort to counteract that, I painted too much, and was very unhappy with the effect. Then I pasted that damned bit of paper with the word "Inspiration" on the thing and all hope was lost ... :)

The process of creating it was less organic or random than usual with me and I think that shows. Generally when I add found text it's less calculated, more reflexive or aleatory*. This was ... bleh. I really don't like it!

Anyone else feel like sharing less-than-successful works?

aka dangerousmezzo

*(Yes, I'm footnoting my post. Oh my heavens, I can't believe I got to use that word -- it was my favourite adjective in University, studying music -- aleatory music is composed randomly, relying totally on chance ...)

VAST is Etsy's Visual Artists Street Team: you can see the blog here:

Posted at 9:23am Oct 16, 2007 EDT


dmriceart says

Good Morning!

Oh my, I have a basement full of "unfinished/didn't work for me/ what am I going to do with this?/canvas(es)!

It seems that my brain SEES some wonderful painting, and yet, my hands are not always able to comprehend what my brain is seeing...

I have a tendency to "kill a painting with love"... by using too many paint strokes 'on a whim' ... and realizing that they are not what I wanted the paint to do!

I think my "impatience level" is very high... If I cannot complete a painting in 2-3 days... it bothers me...

How does one learn to "slow the process down"... to the benefit of the end result!?

Here is just one of the many...

VAST is Etsy's Visual Artists Street Team: you can see the blog here:

Posted at 10:07am Oct 16, 2007 EDT

I absolutely know what you mean by "killing a painting with love" -- that's a great description of it!

And I get really impatient, too ...

Maybe the more patient artists have fewer "failures"?

When I start out on a piece, I often need to remind myself that "it's not done yet" and that more cohesion may evolve as the work progresses. But then I reach a point where I know that if I go on, I will totally wreck it and remove all signs of life.

It's odd, isn't it?

I wonder if people in other arts experience this?

Posted at 10:25am Oct 16, 2007 EDT

I haven't posted in the vast threads before, I tend to lurk in the forums! But this is such an interesting subject. I too have many unsuccessful pieces, no pics at the mo but I'll try and get some.

dmriceart, I know what you mean about impatience, I work almost exclusively on small pieces because I lack the patience to spend weeks creating a piece. That makes me feel bad to admit...

It is a strange thing though that just about every painting or collage I'm doing will have a point about halfway through where I look at it and think wow that sucks. Sometimes if I keep at it I'll end up with something I'm really pleased with. Not always.

Perhaps we just need to keep going a bit longer before deciding it's no good?

Posted at 10:31am Oct 16, 2007 EDT

Oh DM we must have been writing at the same time, lol!

Posted at 10:32am Oct 16, 2007 EDT

keecojo says

In May, I started a blog to motivate myself to do a painting each day. Some days my heart just wasn't into painting but I forced myself to do "something" which produced a less than desirable result. Some days I get a "great" idea that is fun to do in the process, but ends with a not so "great" result.

I have listed some of my experimental pieces under "Discounted Items" on my etsy site Most of these are far removed from my usual style but I thought that at a reduced price, someone out there might actually like them.

Posted at 11:26am Oct 16, 2007 EDT

dmriceart says


Even your discounted items are amazing! Funny how hard artists are on themselves...

I have been asked to do a show in the Spring,(small town Gallery).. Very Small! ... and my stomach is aching already!

I want to try... and I know I can do it... but there is a part of me that sees something wrong in Every painting I do... My expectations are much higher than my abilities at this point of my life...

I do enjoy the process of painting... I am sooooooooooo absorbed in a creation when I have the paint brush in hand! ... but there is also that little voice that says...
"Do you even have a clue!?" ...

Posted at 11:39am Oct 16, 2007 EDT

signetart says


This is an interesting topic!

I find that sometimes pieces I consider failed are actually very good a year later, and sometimes pieces that I like when I've done it look terrible a year later. Sometimes they're just bad, sometimes just need some tweaking, sometimes give you a better idea. For me just part of the process.

Of course I wish all the pieces could happen easily and be great but seems to be usually 1 or 2 out of a series of 6 that I really like, and those are not always what everyone else likes.

Posted at 2:06pm Oct 16, 2007 EDT

dmriceart says


I once walked into a friend's home, complimented a small ornament on her tree... and she laughed, and smiled at me!
I couldn't figure it out, until she said...

"Debi, You did that!"... ( and I had, about 6 years before! LOL!)...

Didn't even realize it was my work! ( how bad is that!)

So, I guess there are times I do like my work... (whether I know it or not!) hehe

Posted at 4:10pm Oct 16, 2007 EDT

I did a water color painting of falls leaves (like the one I have in my shop) but when it was finished I didn't like it at all. The colors were nice and the individual leaves were nice, but the overall composition was terrible.
So I cut it up and made ACEOs out of it. (they are in my shop too!)

Posted at 9:22pm Oct 16, 2007 EDT