No painting of mine is safe, that is, until its hanging on someone else’s wall. There are just a few, actually, that are sacred, for personal reasons, and I will never touch again.
However, there are quite a few of them that go in the “gosh, there is just something not quite right with that work” pile and with time, I see what it is. The biggest factor, I think, is in learning more problem-solving skills that help me to get past whatever block I had the first go-around. The eye-connection learns faster than brush-connection. Vincent Van Gogh said at one point, “I no longer stand helpless before nature.” I have remembered that since the beginning of my struggles to get something I like on canvas. I think the best advice is “keep on painting.” It really does solve a number of problems. The more you paint, the better paintings you create. And you really can salvage stuff that has been waiting for you for years! Here are some before-after photos with discussion.
It was not enough color for me in version 1, even though the flowers really were white.
The orange/yellow seemed zingier, and I may even add more deep red. I changed them to roses.
This one of the little shepherdess was competing with the background. I love fall colors, and yet it seemed way too busy and unbalanced. I changed the scene to a greener cast, and the background seemed to recede more, as cool colors do. I wanted the shepherdess and the sheep to take the interest first, and not the foliage. Sometimes, I think, “it was better before I started to mess with it again,” and that is always the risk you take. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and sometimes the collector likes work from my “not quite right pile” just the way it is and gives me a new perspective.
It’s interesting that art (and life) is so subjective, but the satisfaction of problem solving with a more experienced brush is very rewarding. I have heard of several famous artists (you would recognize the last name alone) who have come to their shows before the opening with brush and paint in hand for final revisions. This makes me feel better, as validity of my processes is always appreciated. So, keep on painting, (and sometimes re-painting!)