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A country bonfire

November 26, 2013

Dear Artist,

Science fiction writer Ray Bradbury wrote, " Write a thousand words a day and in three years you'll be a writer." Social scientist Malcolm Gladwell calls it " the 10,000 hours rule ." American radio host and producer Ira Glass reminds us that it's grit that bridges the gap between ambition and greatness. In the studio, Dad taught me to keep "blanks" stacked in tall, primed piles beside the easel, inviting me to play and to do the work.

For any artist, a few million miles on the road to mastery is going to produce a wipeout (or two)--false starts, fits ofA joint effort. It feels better sometimes.
A joint effort. It feels better sometimes.
panic, excessive noodling, dead-ends, stubbornness, box canyons, distraction attacks, alter ego follies, narcolepsy, bad vibes, too tight, too loose, too precious or too casual. Tear-stained flops are necessary. They're the gift you give yourself when you're willing to fly.

A month ago Dad wrote to tell you that we had begun the act of culling his painting archive. It had only been a year since he'd written to remind you, and to offer suggestions on how to purge . Here's an excerpt from that letter:

"Sit beside a cheery fireplace on a cool October night and feed the flames. Scotch helps. Those flames are hungry for your poorer efforts and, while the loss of them may be at first painful to you, the lick and wither of their demise will be your cathartic event."

Last Saturday, in need of a hotter venue, we loaded our panel van to the skylight, both my stuff and his, and followed a dewy road to a friend's place deep in the country where bonfires are tolerated. With the witness of sympathetic friends, canvas by canvas, we committed offenders to the pyre. Curiously, a dozen or so were pulled at the last minute. Dorothy wandered back and forth, sniffing the wild mushrooms, giving the conflagration a wide berth. At one point she gave an approving paw to a canvas that got to stay in the van. " That has hope, " I heard Dad say. We've taken the liberty to put up photos of the event at the top of the current clickback.

For artists willing to feed the flames, there's an exhilarating relief that passes all understanding. After a life, (or even a part of a life) devoted to grit and play, it's what's left that counts. Scotch time.

Sincerely,

Sara

PS: "Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of intelligent effort." (John Ruskin)

Esoterica: We all know that many artists don't demand such rigorous control. Many, encouraged by libertines like my father when he's in his more goofy moods, know that it's in the play itself that true creative joy happens. Nevertheless, those who might strive for superior outcomes need to take an extra step. They need to apply the added value of a discriminating mind. It seems that control is the vital second half of personal creative evolution. It's what Richard Bach was talking about when he said, "A professional is an amateur who didn't quit."







Painting buddy's revelation
by Stan Moeller, York, ME, USA


A few years back I was out painting with a former student turned painting buddy, and somehow the Watching the Arno, study<br>oil on linen panel-sanded<br>14 x 11 inches by Stan Moeller Watching the Arno, study
oil on linen panel-sanded
14 x 11 inches
conversation went to the amount of paintings I tossed or reused. He said, "I have never thrown away a painting... I have everything I have ever painted."

I told him I probably discarded or painted over at least 20-30% of my paintings and that I constantly go through old paintings and decide to toss, fix, or sand down and re-use... that if I was hit by a bus tonight, there are paintings in my studio that I do not want out there in the world.

He got a little wide eyed and told me later he went home that night and started going through paintings for the bonfire.

My favorite method (I usually paint on panels, with gesso or mounted linen), is to use an orbital sander hooked up to my Shop Vac and smooth out the bumps. It makes my favorite painting surface and I use them for studies or finished paintings. Sometimes I leave traces of the old painting and it adds to the piece.



There are 4 comments for Painting buddy's revelation by Stan Moeller

From: Ginny in Florida -- Nov 29, 2013

Absolutely...I was totally shocked that Robert and Sara are burning the old canvases! Why are they not be sanded down and re-gessoed for Sara for other artists to use?

From: Carrie Berry -- Nov 29, 2013

In my opinion, it is to fuel the fire.

From: Anonymous -- Nov 29, 2013

It's ok if you have someone else (a non-artist) do that for you. If not, don't waste your precious time on this earth...we need you to paint more of your beautiful pieces!

From: Marilyn bachelor -- Nov 29, 2013

Reusing the canvas or paper robs you of a wonderful feeling of relief and renewal. Take a photo, if you wish. Keep some to reuse, but enjoy the freedom and relief of a bonfire.


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Failure options
by Peter Brown, Oakland, CA, USA


Having read and appreciated these letters for years, it is difficult to just come right out and say Steep Ravine<br>oil on panel by Peter Brown Steep Ravine
oil on panel
that this "Country Bonfire," advice is pure bunk. Obviously, it is not good for the environment, and worse it is a complete waste of materials. It is self-indulgent and suggests that the artist always knows best, which is probably just not true. In many, if not most, cases the artist is too close to his or her own work to see it! If the artist is the supreme judge of good and bad, why are the great one-person exhibitions curated? What museum lets the artists self-select a retrospective?

Here is a brief list of better things to do with a failed painting:

- Fix it.

- Re-prime it and try again.

- Re-prime it and donate the canvas to a school.

- Flip and re-stretch the canvas.

- Sand the painting surface.

- Tear up the canvasses and make a collage.

- Select the "good" parts and make several smaller paintings.

Any of these suggestions is far better than a bonfire. That fire would seem ridiculous to you, as well, if you had ever struggled with poverty, or tried to teach art in a ghetto school. Your father has done so much to foster creativity around the world, it is sad to me that he, or you, would suggest the burning of canvas and stretcher bars as some sort of catharsis. It was a failure of creativity that lit your fire. I write this with all respect, a deep sadness and my condolences for your situation.



There are 6 comments for Failure options by Peter Brown

From: Susan Avishai -- Nov 29, 2013

I'm thinking that if Robert had had years ahead, he might have handled his lesser paintings in ways you suggested. But the bonfire may have meant something else for him. Catharsis, yes. Perhaps a more tangible understanding of his own morality. A chance to control his legacy even if he can't control his diagnosis? Who knows. He doesn't have to share everything with us.

From: Jackie Knott -- Nov 29, 2013

I'm in favor of recycling but surely artists can do pretty much what they want with undesirable efforts. It is ours. If you so choose to burn, burn. That's like telling someone the "proper" way to grieve. One person hangs on to every tiny scrap possession of a loved one while another feels the need to empty a home of any reminder of the person, quickly. Some go into deep mourning and others throw a party. None is correct; it is whatever comforts a person coping with a traumatic life event.
The same with forming your own legacy. If it isn't ours to leave who does it belong to? Art curators rarely know what an artist had in mind when they painted a particular piece. I've heard some pure nonsense from docents before. There is great dignity in disposing of or keeping that which you want to be remembered for.

From: Sarah Wood -- Nov 29, 2013

Your comments, Jackie, are humane and compassionate.

From: Hanna G. -- Nov 29, 2013

This critique seems ridiculous to anyone who knows the extent of Robert's charity. I sincerely hope that most people don't think that way.

From: Suzette Fram -- Nov 29, 2013

I think Peter Brown makes some very good points (and thank you for the idea of tearing up canvases to make collages - love it). But Susan and Jackie also make very good points. I agree with all and I guess in the end it is a personal decision, and must be respected as such.

From: J. Bruce Wilcox -- Dec 01, 2013

Robert's both written about burning and burned his art before. This is not the first letter in which his belief in burning his substandard work has been the topic of discussion. Of course- he's acting as arbiter- certainly- he gets to- we all get to- for the most part. And we all are capable of making very bad and very unwise decisions from time to time.

http://clicks.robertgenn.com/how-to-purge.php

http://clicks.robertgenn.com/html/archive.php?clickback=hangdog.html&id=328

http://clicks.robertgenn.com/grandpas-art.php

http://clicks.robertgenn.com/html/archive.php?clickback=body.html&id=323

However- Robert succeeded. Robert's RICH. And my understanding is that rich people get to do whatever they want...


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Not by hand but by heart
by Tom Johnsen, CA, USA


I am so sorry to learn of your cancer and I am very much impressed by your resolve and courage to continue "playing." That definitely is the real goal of life and one great source of learning. It is "criminal" that we should stop in ourselves and others. Fortunately, it is not always successful. I've been a reader for decades now and have found it invigorating and enlightening. It's certainly helpful in my job as an art teacher. I've always looked forward to your letters. I've always taken your advice when it comes to "quitting": don't.

Sometimes the art you create is not what your hands do. It's what your heart does.



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Ditch the smoke
by Warren Criswell, Benton, AR, USA


3 WORDS: RECYCLE, RECYCLE, RECYCLE

The Miraculous Mandarin<br>oil painting<br>56 x 39 inches by Warren Criswell The Miraculous Mandarin
oil painting
56 x 39 inches
Sara, as cathartic as you and your dad's sacrificial pyres may be, the same "exhilarating relief" can be achieved with a broad brush and a bucket of gesso, thereby adding to your stack of blanks, providing more opportunities for creative joy at less expense and smoke. Even for those who (unlike moi) can afford that kind of waste, on an over-populated planet with shrinking resources, it's not a good idea.

Having said that, I must admit that I am not good at purging. Like Picasso, I save every scribble, suspecting that even my failures may be masterpieces! LOL

P.S. In my humble opinion, Robert should be painting more and burning less. Late works are always the best. Beethoven, Rembrandt, etc. Also, creativity has a much better record at life extension than chemo.



There are 3 comments for Ditch the smoke by Warren Criswell

From: P. W. Brown -- Nov 29, 2013

Late works are not always the "best." Sometimes, but not always. This depends on circumstances. Sentimentality should never enter into a critique. Life is short. Art is long. Many art collectors do not look at the art they collect. They are collecting autographs. The market place has little to do with art.

From: teresa -- Nov 29, 2013

Yes Warren
I must admit that this is a far better way of dealing with paintings one is not satisfied with. That first stroke of the gesso is just as exhilirating as the flames.

From: Laura -- Nov 29, 2013

I gesso over and reuse those canvases over and over for experiments and plain air sketching. But Robert doesn't need that, his works are all good for the gallery, and Sara lives in New York - so I understand that burning works best for them. Ashes are a good fertilizer for the lawn!


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Shoot and shoot and shoot!
by Elle Fagan, Hartford, CT, USA


The bonfire is cathartic right now for you and I cheer you for it!

I am totally non-violent but New Flag Grove Court<br>watercolour painting by Elle Fagan New Flag Grove Court
watercolour painting
when my husband died suddenly and too young and the 21-guns sounded at the funeral, I wanted those guns to shoot and shoot and shoot... such things really help relieve the rage when such times are new.

The poet Dylan Thomas tells us, "Go not softly into that dark night" -- yell and roar and object about having to part with the deliciousness of life - life is that gift!

But when you get the top off the emotions a bit, slice the canvas into artsy bookmarks instead and let them fundraise for the end to prostate cancer. My late husband was Welcome - the human genome people - they will have an injection for it in 20 years or less.

Believe and help.

I sold and donated a handful of happy holiday slashed canvas bookmarks at a huge holiday kickoff event last weekend and they looked great and are quality material - put a splash of gold marker or your signature or the "v" of a bird in flight on each one.



There is 1 comment for Shoot and shoot and shoot! by Elle Fagan

From: Loraine Wellman -- Nov 28, 2013

Bookmarks are a brilliant idea- especially if the recycled canvas didn't quite make it either!


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Ruthless and unforgiving cull
by Rick Rotante, Tujunga, CA, USA


As bonfires are illegal in our state, I do the next best thing. I cull my inventory periodically. I am Chinatown temple<br>oil painting by Rick Rotante Chinatown temple
oil painting
ruthless and unforgiving in this process. If I look at a piece, which has been around too long, I critique it in several ways. 1- Can I rework it? 2- Is it saying anything to me? Would I want anyone to see it after I go? Can it be considered one of the best I've done?

I go through these and other questions until I make a determination whether to hold on to it longer or put in an undecided pile and finally remove it from the stretchers, tear it up and dump.

The one thing I do is photograph it and add it to a file. I do this for many reasons. One of which is to see where I was then, what I once considered doing and should I revisit the theme again.

I am not one to fall in love with everything I paint. I learned not to do this years ago. I realized there is a process to painting. Some pieces are a process to a finished work. Some are dalliances. Things I wouldn't consider as part of my life's work. There are studies for works already completed. Some I keep as a remembrance of where I started, some just because they have a fresh feel that I try and remember to bring to the finished works.

By doing it this way, I save a possibly savable work from being tossed out.



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Jane Romanishko Workshops Held in the beautiful Casa Buena Art Retreat, Mexico.  <a href='http://clicks.robertgenn.com/workshops/workshop.php'>The Workshop Calendar</a> provides up-to-date selected workshops and seminars arranged in chronological order. Please take a look <a href='http://clicks.robertgenn.com/workshops/workshop.php'>here</a>.
Jane Romanishko Workshops
Held in the beautiful Casa Buena Art Retreat, Mexico.

The Workshop Calendar provides up-to-date selected workshops and seminars arranged in chronological order. Please take a look here.



World of Art Featured artist Zhang Jingna, New York, NY, USA



You may be interested to know that artists from every state in the USA, every province in Canada, and at least 115 countries worldwide have visited these pages since January 1, 2013.

Bear<br>original painting<br>by Susie Cipolla
Bear
original painting
by Susie Cipolla
That includes Susie Cipolla of Whistler, BC, Canada, who wrote, "One of the many jewels of information I've received from Robert is, "You are only as good as your worst painting," so I routinely destroy my worst stuff. Once a month I take an exacto-knife to one or two paintings and move on."

And also Richard Gagnon of Knowlton, QC, Canada, who wrote, "I can tell you first hand that the alternative -- sitting by the fire on a cool October night with a Scotch, regretting that you do not have a pile to feed the flame or any canvases at all to show for your time -- is not desirable."


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Archived Comments

Enjoy the past comments below for A country bonfire...

From: Laurie Landry -- Nov 25, 2013

I'm curious as to the reasons why we destroy our artworks we deem unworthy. I have friends and family who gets mad when I do this, exclaiming, "But I would love to have that on my wall!" I have tried to explain why I do it - I destroy artwork that I can't stand by with full honesty. "But everyone starts somewhere!" My difficulty is trying to explain what I mean by standing by my artwork honestly. I do not destroy all my earlier, novice work. I keep most of them. There is one I gave away, that I wish I hadn't because it's not honest. It isn't too bad, isn't that good, really, but truly isn't me. How do you explain why you destroy some artworks?

From: Marilyn Harding -- Nov 25, 2013

Purging isn't just for artists. Enlightenment is just that - lightening the load of all we carry that is not worthy of our highest expression of Life. Thanks for continuing to write, Sara. I really enjoy the blend of your words with your dad's. I can really feel the magic of this time for you both. A privilege to share with you.

From: Francesco Foontana -- Nov 26, 2013

I agree with Sara and Robert space clearing in art can be cathartic. That's what I did and wrote last March:

If Monet did it, so can I

I am in the mood for lightness! So one operation is clear the studio. Most of the junk is now off. But a bulk of painted stretched canvas still occupies space that I long to see blank. I thought it would be hard to destroy a pile of my artworks. Then I remembered that Claude Monet used to order his gardener burn his 'craps'. If Claude did, I can do it too, right? But I have neither a gardener nor a garden. So the first step was cut the canvas off 30-plus stretcher frames. I feel relieved! Tomorrow I'll see what next step is..

From: Femi Adedeji -- Nov 26, 2013

Reading through this, I remember the story of Jeremiah the prophet on a visit to an art studio. "Go down to the shop where clay pots and jars are made, and I will talk to you there. I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel. But the jar that he was forming didnít turn out as he wished, so he kneaded it into a lump and started again."

From: Gary VanHouten -- Nov 26, 2013

Sara,
"Scotch time." Exactly! To our great good fortune you are an apple that has fallen smack dab under the tree. Thanks to both of you!

From: Dave C. -- Nov 26, 2013

I have always believed in doing this, clearing out the "clutter" to make room for much better efforts. I can do it in the backyard, even in Vegas, simply by building a fire in the fire pit. Of course, my sweetie is horrified by the idea. She will never understand.

The only thing I am a little sketchy about and not sure if I want to continue this practice is, what happens to the cadmiums and lead (for those using lead white) and other heavy metals and other toxic chemicals in the paint? I'm sure most of it burns off to nothingness, but does all of it? Or do some of those chemicals now become airborne so the neighbors can now enjoy them? I am not a chemist by any stretch of the imagination, but it is something to think about.

From: Inez Hudson -- Nov 26, 2013

In packing for a recent move, I made that most difficult decision - get rid of the paintings that nagged at me. I had always been of the mind that one should never get rid of their first or their worst painting, as they are an indication of how far one's work has grown or improved. The worst painting was slashed

From: Ancient Artist -- Nov 26, 2013

Thank you Sara, for the video of Dorothy having a blast in the snow - and reminding us the all work and no play makes for very dull and uninteresting paintings and drawings !

From: Dwight -- Nov 26, 2013

I understand getting rid of unworthy work. What I don't understand, as seen in the photos, is the waste of good stretchers. Maybe for some the price of decent wood is not important, and others may not have the tools to rework the wood into new stretchers, but burning the usable parts seems such a waste. I paint watercolors mostly but work on stretched canvas some and I make my own frame molding and frames. Wasting good material is...well you get the picture.

From: Muriel Dowle -- Nov 26, 2013

I can't help it, sad to see the paintings burning. Hope you are both having a good day. Xx

From: Verna Korkie -- Nov 26, 2013

Robert, when I saw you and Sara in your 'burning in the bush ritual', I was reminded again of the connection your readers feel towards you and your works. As a relative novice painter/artist, I can't imagine getting rid of any of my paintings. But then, I haven't put in my tens of thousands of hours, not by a long shot.

Reading what you and others have written, I am starting to understand your feelings regarding the 'big picture' of your works, particularly when it comes to what you consider to be substandard offerings. At the same time, as I viewed those photos above in the current clickback I am thinking, "NO NO, don't do it! I love that one!!"

When I take a workshop, I have a special storage place for the fruits of that labour. Awesome recollections and emotions of the people and circumstances of each painting come flooding back when I look at them. Such is the case with your 2012 Bugaboos workshop. The first painting we did was to enable you and Sara and Liz to determine 'where we were' on our artistic journey (more or less). When I finished that painting, you came along, took my brush and placed a few wispy mauve clouds across the top above the mountains. Then another few strokes along the bottom for the lead in(s). And then another painting where you said, "Juicy, Verna, juicy," in reference to piling on the paint thickly. Indelible lessons. Priceless memories.

I guess I just want you to know how precious having even a small piece of "you" is to me - then and now. I suspect others feel the same as they witness your purge. It hurts us but we understand at some level. Thanks for sharing. It is wonderful to see you engaging in life and love with your family. Don't stop...........

From: Brad -- Nov 26, 2013

I'm with Dwight, I'd rather see those stretcher bars recycled. Thanks for the years of great advice.

From: Jan McCaffrey -- Nov 26, 2013

Where were you? I could have helped keep the fire burning!! Strange, in a way I do the same thing as a physician. Every year as a new years ritual I burn my old patient charts, the ones that I'm legally allowed to destroy. Of course the patients or their management are not failures (not very often) as they are in carefully selected burnable paintings, but this process gives pause to reflect and see what can be remembered, and learn or re-learn the lesson, savour the insight, and the flames carry it away and make it final. It is liberating. My family doesn't really understand, but they know the signs . . .the big pile of charts beside the fireplace, the snifter of Cognac, and late night CBC . . .The Signal, and a renewed self in the morning. I'm trying the hour a day, and someday I might be a painter . . . it's hard. It's worth it. Thank you.

From: Victoria Wolf -- Nov 26, 2013

Touched to the point of tears. Thank you sharing so much. Lost my oldest daughter ... almost 2 years now. She was an artist. So hard to go through the beautiful pieces she made. Unable yet to open some boxes. The very best of wishes to you, yours, and theirs.

From: Ookie Meissner -- Nov 26, 2013

For me it is a glass of dry red wine. I have been diagnosed with an almost thumb sized tumor in my brain, benign now but eventually pressing on the visual center of the brain. The irony of it and now I am doing the same thing. What is worth keeping from fifty years of art, photography and anything in between or should all of it be burnt with me? It gives a certain amount of freedom to let go of your wayward "children".

Carpe diem!

From: Shaun Dziedzic -- Nov 26, 2013

It's sad to go through these photos even though it looked like you both were enjoying the "event". I want to burn my rejected paintings too, but I haven't yet mustered the courage. Also, I don't have the opportunity of being outside in some beautiful bit of nature. No, I have to dump mine at the local incinerator-- not so poetic.

From: John Burk -- Nov 26, 2013

It must be a wonderful fellowship to have a painter Dad and friend. It also helps explain to me how you are a repository of so much painting lore. The fact that he likes scotch too must make it that much more pleasant. I send my highest regards to you both.

From: Rich Mason -- Nov 26, 2013

I've fed the flames many times. Having only so much space I can't spare the room to store failures. I look at it as part of my learning process. I wish I did well enough so there was no fuel for the fire but that does not seem to be the case. It hurts but it's necessary I believe. It's nice to know that I'm not alone in this, that others share my feelings and also make mistakes like I do.

From: Marinus Verhagen -- Nov 26, 2013

What a pity... I'm sure the worst Genn you burnt there was better than the best painting I will ever make....

From: Bela Fidel -- Nov 26, 2013

During times of either poor performance or poor sales I fantasize about such a bonfire. I cannot tell you how many times I have "organized" this event. I call it The bonfire of the Vanities. Except that in my "party" I burn everything I have ever done. No "decisions, decisions".
And then I show up at the studio again, for another day of work, laughter and tears. And so it goes...

From: Barbara Allen Frost -- Nov 26, 2013

As a metal enamel artist, my bad (?) work is on copper, which I hate to just throw away. So far, I have a lot of things I have a lot of things I really don't like, but am saving for the sake of just saving....nothing I make is precious, but there is value in the copper. But a lot of my family and friends want to pick and choose before I do anything drastic...I need suggestions for purging....

From: Russ Hogger -- Nov 26, 2013

This method of redemption, to burn and rid the world of all our artistic sins can sometimes backfire. Looking through some of my old slides I have come across paintings I destroyed years ago and wonder why I did that. Now I cover up most of sins with acrylic paint. Now you see it, now you don't.

From: John Ferrie -- Nov 27, 2013

I live by the words "If you have a knack, GREAT, but then it's another 10,000 hours!". Everyone has a fluke and occasional break through. And while everyone's talent is something to admire, it is the artist with acres of canvas behind them and a head of them that I always admire. And like that hair cut or dress from the 80's where we are "god what was I thinking?" it is all part of a journey. Every single event and stage in our lives are linked to one another. Art isn't always about making a series of a masterpiece, it can just be about self expression. And it is like when a symphony comes together in perfect unison that we create something that is truly our inner voice as painters...and that occurs at around the 6000th hour! John Ferrie

From: J. Bruce Wilcox -- Nov 27, 2013

Sorry to disagree- oh that's right- no I'm not...

You painters paint many paintings to get to 10,000 hours. I got to 10,000 hours somewhere along the way- but by that time I'd still produced far fewer works. So those of us who are more process oriented- whose work completes in many stages- who make time along the way for observation and introspection- who never create something from start to finish in a single movement- who may put hundreds of hours in a single piece- we simply don't sign things till the work is completed- and we're satisfied with the results.

Now it's true- I have a couple of pieces I'm slightly less satisfied with- pieces that came into being when I didn't have any money to invest in some material I could have used to make them slightly better- so I used what I had- but even those few pieces took many many hours and mark my progress along the way- and I'll never destroy them. There will be too few existing/remaining when I'm gone.

I created 2 embroidery pieces in 1973 when I was 20. I'm 60 now. They both got published in a newspaper article- one sold a long time ago- the other I was never fully happy with- simply because of a minor amount of the stitching that I did and a frame job I didn't really like. But no one but me ever knew that. And because I'm having a sale and currently know someone who'd seen the slide of that piece and collects embroidery pieces- I just sold it after 40 years.

So I may not think of it as perfect- yet it's still perfectly what it is. And it is by no means an embarrassment. And you can see it on my facebook page- if you want to.

Some of us can't afford to burn the recyclable parts of our work- no matter what. That's a waste.

From: Jackie Knott -- Nov 27, 2013

In pulling the Christmas decorations down from the attic a few days ago I saw a dozen examples of my unfinished and substandard work. Several have leaned against one wall or another, hidden for 20-30 yrs. In seeing your bonfire photos I asked myself, "And one more time, why are you hanging on to these things?" I vaguely recall wanting to "fix" a couple but at this late date starting over seems more prudent.
I think after the holidays I'll salvage the stretchers and have a burn myself. I may have to do so when the family isn't aware of my plans. There is nothing there I want to see on anyone's walls.
Thanks for the reminder.

From: Paula Green -- Nov 28, 2013

Couldn't you just paint over your rejects rather than outright destroying them? Recycle/Upcycle.

From: Laurel Alanna McBrine -- Nov 28, 2013

I am a little concerned about the toxicity of the fumes from burning paintings but glad to see you having fun with your daughter. I am also in the reuse it if you can group, for myself, but this process clearly means a lot to you.

From: Ann Wilson -- Nov 29, 2013

Thank you for sharing the wisdom of bonfires and Dorothy's snows. I cried all the way through the snow romp. My airedale passed away just after Thanksgiving seven years ago. She too loved the snow and this brought back her precious memory for me in a good way despite the tears. I still miss her. She was with me every minute when I was going through cancer treatment, except for those hours when I was at the clinic having chemo or radiation. When I first saw your site and saw that you featured a picture of yourself with your airedale, I felt an immediate connection with a person who is obviously an airedale lover.. As much as I love my cairn and my wheaton terriers, there really is nothing like an airedale terrier. May she give to you what mine gave to me, complete love, loyalty, support and joy.

From: Charles Peck -- Nov 29, 2013

Hello again,
I do hope things are going as well as one could hope in these troubled times. My personal bonfires these days are conducted with white gesso and used as a fresh canvas partly reflecting tighter circumstances and just less interest in wasting good stretchers, and panels. I have had fires in the past but the one of memory was done when I hit the road again upon leaving Tallahassee, Florida back in Ď89. It was a magnificently large fire that was in danger of burning the tops of nearby trees but the wind stayed with us and for some odd reason the fire department didnít go into panic mode. I am glad to see the letters are continuing and keeping their insightfulness. Thanks. I donít burn as many these days but darned if some efforts donít still cry out for gesso after a few weeks.

From: Louise Wigglesworth -- Nov 29, 2013

Linda Loman to husband Willy in Arthur Miller's great DEATH OF A SALESMAN-- "Well, dear, life is a casting off."

From: tatjana -- Nov 29, 2013

As far as I know, gesso on top of paint is not a good idea. Paint on top of paint bonds as expected, so painting over a failed piece with opaque paint is probably a way to go for those who want to recycle.

From: Richard Quis -- Nov 30, 2013

John W. Hilton, artist, annually burned an entire yearís accumulation of his own paintings which he decided were unworthy of him. This ritual was carried out at the stroke of midnight every New Years Eve. It was a holocaust of art, but he was determined to paint the things he saw with his soul. Don't I wish I had the courage, like Robert Genn and John W. Hilton, to burn up all the mistakes of my life.

From: Perry Melenka -- Dec 05, 2013

I've burned drawing and afterwards, I'm glad they are gone, a relief! I can see paintings also being torched as a disposing of feeling I don't want to carry any more.






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Last modified: Sep, 01, 2014