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  • Writer's pictureWendy Kimberley Art

When good paintings go bad.

Until recently my style has always been focused on realism. Adding fine details such as a highlight to an eye to reflect character or indicating the bend of a blade of grass or branch to portrait the direction and movement of the wind can make a huge difference and really bring an art work to life.

Lion Heart (2015)

Requiem (2015)

My main aim has always been to make the subject so realistic that it is almost photographic. I want the subject to leap out from the canvas, capturing the viewers imagination and pulling them back in to explore its depths.

Admittedly its a challenging process and I don't always achieve the desired effect. I've never been to art school and I am an untrained artist. For me its been a long process of trial and error and practice, I'm still on a steep learning curve. Many a painting has fallen by the wayside, never to see the light of day because I haven't been able to transfer what I envision in my head onto the canvas.

In the past these have been painted over and used for other artworks. In fact just this week I painted over the image below for the very same reasons, although it is rare that I do this nowadays. I have three pieces currently in the studio that are incomplete or not going in the direction I wanted so I am just waiting it out hoping for inspiration to strike or for me to fall in love with them again. This is sadly an all to frequent occurrence. Of the body of work I produce in a year I'd say at least 50% or more have to be re worked until I considered them an acceptable standard to exhibit or sell on sites such as Artfinder.

But why wait? I am sure some people would think it easier to paint over a canvas and start from scratch. Indeed some of my early work, mainly spacescapes were scrubbed out without thought. Money was tight, a new canvas was expensive and at the time , I didn't like the painting so it was effectively deleted. Now I look back years later and I mourn their loss. I can console myself that at least they are still there, albeit cloaked beneath another painting, but they will never be seen.

When good paintings go bad

I have only ever once destroyed a canvas which I considered irredeemable. Once was enough. I had painted it six times and each time the composition and colour had gone badly. I decided it must have bad Juju or feng shui or more likely it was my mood and dismantled it with a butchers knife and a hammer in the kitchen. A tad dramatic, I agree, but it was just to stop me wasting more time painting over it again, which I was planning to had become sort of a mission.

NEVER will I do that again! It was like killing one of my own. Every time I went outside to the bin and caught a glimpse of the bones of its broken frame and shredded canvas I grieved.

It was a hard lesson to learn. I called my husband, sister and children berating myself as I felt so bad. It gave me a real insight into how much emotion I invest in each and everyone of my artworks. They are like my children, my art babies, each one contains a little piece of my heart and soul.

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