Friday, August 17, 2012

Revisiting a Milestone - The Creative Process

Grand Procession by J. Binford-Bell
24 x 30 mixed media on canvas

Every artist revisits a subject from time to time. Monet's Water Lilies give us permission. Often we return to a particular subject or sketch because we do not think we got it right the first time. And sometimes because we did get it right and we think we can build on that. And some painters do things over and over because it sold.

Grand Procession was a break through painting for me in so many ways. It was my first goddess painting. It was my largest painting up to that time. And one of my first prize winners. It was not my first poured sky or spiral stars or use of metallic paints. But it is often the one my followers remember as being the first. Mystic Passage holds that honor.

Mystic Passage by J. Binford-Bell
20 x 24 Mixed media on canvas

The interesting thing about these two paintings is that neither of them sold. And that my be my fault because I loved both so much I hardly ever took them to a fair or entered them in a show. They were my models for what worked and I often used them as inspiration for other paintings that built on what worked in these two. Mystic Passage still hangs in my studio even though I have moved past it.

Grand Procession was taken to an exhibit and suffered a fatal accident. Another framed painting fell against it and ripped the canvas. I stared at the torn work for a couple weeks before I finally cut it off the stretcher bars and rolled it up to save to use in a collage my brain has been working on for months. Yesterday I got out the sketch that was the basis for Grand Procession and made some alterations. I have transferred the new sketch to a 24 x 24 inch canvas to paint.

Will the new painting be a copy of the other? No. I have moved beyond in skills and materials from that point and I can see so many things I would do differently if I had it to do again which I do. I have gotten to that point with it that I was with all my works of art my parents owned; never once did I enter their house without wishing I had brought my paints to fix this or that. Do you suppose DaVinci ever felt that way about the Mona Lisa?

As for paintings that do not sell? I understand that Georgia O'Keeffe had over a 1000 paintings in her studio at the time of her death.

Am I ready to redo Mystic Passage? No. But I am ready to sell it.


  1. I love your work. Do you work with acrylics or watercolours? If watercolours, do you have to prepare the canvases in a special way to accept the paints?
    I think everyone must have that feeling of redoing bits and bobs with the passage of time.
    I look forward to your new Grand Procession.

  2. Sue I work in watercolor with inks. That is how the two pictures in this blog were done. I use a prepared watercolor canvas that I stretch to the size I want.

    In the last few months I have also begun to add oil sticks to my compositions as a finishing touch to highlight parts of the painting.

    I loathe acrylics because they do not blend. And to me they always look flat and dead.

    If you are on facebook visit my fanpage there because I will be posting progress pictures of the revised Grand Passage.


I appreciate all kind comments on my art and poetry.