Revisiting Less Successful Work

Deadlines are great. They make me more productive than any creative itch possibly can. The trouble is that getting into a rush prevents me from stopping to really look at a piece as the idea is developed and guide it toward a more pleasing conclusion. The good news is that you now have a work that can be revisited and edited and made anew for the next show.

This is what I’m currently doing with “Our Lady of the Lawn” completed back in February 2013 for a show I had 3 weeks to prepare for.


This is the initial draft from which I was working.


Perhaps the saturation of colors and differences in tones makes the digital sketch hold up better, but the final product had no well defined focal point. The flamingos rather than being benign plastic static guardians of our holy mother in her bathtub shrine, are competing visually with her, the focal point. I believe they have a role in a more symmetrical composition, but with this asymmetrical set up, they just make the whole thing lopsided.

Then there is the argument for simplicity. I have been advised to distill my imagery even more, to stop slowing people down with arcane, personal symbolism and feature more the imagery that supports the intended emotional focus of the piece. I’m not sure if I agree with that completely but it is something to consider. Do I force the additional kitsch value of the flamingos to highlight the absurdity of decorating your hard with shrines to a virginal vessel of God’s seed? Or, do I allow the angel and devil to express their distaste, the pilgrim gnomes and the typography do so nearly as effectively without knocking the composition off kilter?

I guess not.

Last night I started sanding off the flamingos. Then I realized the orientation of the text will need to be adjusted and perhaps the rays of light accentuated.

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