Cleaning out the files … to keep or to toss?

© 2002 Carolee Clark, “A Mask for All Occasions,” 27″ x 19″, pastel … Keep

I do this every once in a while, go through old paintings or drawings.  This time I went through old pastels and old watercolors.  I don’t go through the pastels very often because I hate touching them.  They get my hands all dirty and dusty with the pastel dust and I worry about damaging the ones that I care about.

One of my cats decided to jump into the flat file drawer that I was going through and ended up with a blue paw pad and a green paw pad.  She got whisked to the bathroom where I tried to wash her paws and she mewed pitifully.  Then I threw her outside hoping the rain puddles would wash the rest.

Each time I go through them I throw out more, cutting deeper into any “stash” that seems precious.   I haven’t done any pastels since early 2003 … almost 10 years!  I have thrown out so many over the years that I bet I don’t even have 12 left.  The one above (“A Mask for All Occasions”) was on the toss out pile but I rescued it and it still lives in my flat file.

Don’t get me wrong.  Pastels can be absolutely beautiful but it is definitely not my medium of choice.

The watercolors are easier to go through.  No dust, no careful handling just a quick decision of whether to keep them or toss them.  My watercolor paintings are dwindling in number too.  I’m pretty ruthless about keeping things that I don’t like or am tired of looking at (the painting below was tossed).  This time I even chucked some paintings that were accepted into the Watercolor Society of Oregon.

This process can feel absolutely wonderful!

© 2002 Carolee Clark, “Playing Cards,” 22″ x 30″, watercolor … Toss


7 responses to “Cleaning out the files … to keep or to toss?

  1. Gosh, your watercolors are so precise! (In a really good way mind you!) It does feel liberating some how to clean things out. It sort of keeps your outlook fresh and current I think.

  2. Kathryn A Elliget


    K MacElligott

  3. Apparently you don’t feel a need to rework them?? I am not sure I can do that yet but it must feel liberating to you. You could have thrown the card painting my way, I can see how I could turn it into a mixed media piece.

    • You are so right Polly … it would have been much more interesting as a mixed media piece! But by the time I get around to it another 20 years would have passed and I would have had another 20 years worth of drawings and paintings to choose from. Since I am one who gets rid of things rather than collects I can only drool over the creative works of others. I absolutely love collage, reconstructed, reinvented and reimagined work. I truly salivate over some of the work I see. I do try once in a while but it is a whole other area which would take me years to master. I would never show the poor efforts that I attempt.

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