Moving forward by doing a big purge

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I have a second studio in Colorado in a tiny attic space. The wall heights go from 12″ at the edges to 7′ tall at the peak and I  spend at lot of time ducking to prevent bumping my head on the ceiling.  Brimming over with art materials, canvases, art magazines and more, the space was so cluttered that my mind felt cluttered when working in the space too. I had a hard time focusing in the tight space and I couldn’t find things when I needed them. It was time for the BIG PURGE!

Among the items I tossed out over thirty paintings made during my MFA studies. My work has improved over the past several years and I felt it was time to let go of these older student works. I found it liberating to clear out the old and make room in the space to create new work. Below is a picture of most of these paintings.  What experiences have you had with cleaning out stuff to make room for new opportunities?

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4 responses »

  1. I kept a few of the better portraits but got rid of the rest of them. They were mostly from my portrait painting class when I was just learning how to do portraits and they weren’t very good.

  2. I’ve been willing to do a biiig purge in my studio, as I feel exactly as you describe: so cluttered that I can’t work! Happy to find an echo in your post! It’s just hard for me to decide on what to keep, as I sometimes like to check older works, to avoid repeating the same mistakes…

  3. One thing I do is photograph all of my work, even the less than perfect stuff. That way I have a record that I can refer to without having to physically keep all my older, less desirable work. I still keep some of the better paintings. I have a friend who was invited to do a retrospective of her work at a museum and she’s struggling to find enough ‘older’ work as she’s also toss out a lot of her earlier work or doesn’t have the contact information of her past collectors to borrow the work back from.

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