Paint Over? Do over? "Never" turned into a "yes".

Many many many artists paint new work over old work. These are the three top reasons I've heard that my colleagues do paint overs:

1) to save money and re-use good stretched canvasses or panels with not so good or old work on it.
2) to obliterate old work rather than throw it out if it is too old
3)to use it as an artistic starting point, using the painted over piece as inspiration

In all my 17 professional years I have never painted over an finished or even half finished piece.

I have preferred to start a new work on a new panel and spend the money. If a painting is mediocre or unsuccessful, I've thrown it out. I have found an old painting under a new painting to be distracting and a waste of my time. 

That was all true until this week when I painted over this painting. I had been looking at "Blue Day in the Garden of the Sea"for  a little short of a year.

Four months ago, I had taken the painting off the wall and put it aside in my studio . I was bored looking at it. Not that other people were bored with it but that didn't matter. In the new year I decided to take this as a challenge and to make a non-boring painting out of it. So for all the three reason above; a good panel, to change an old work and as an artistic starting point I painted over my first piece ever.

I worked with the composition and it essentially stayed the same.. However my urge for adding color turned the blue day into a flaming sunset. More fitting of the scene and change of time of day, what was "Blue Day in the Garden of the Sea" is now "Sailor's Delight".

I'm not sure whether I learned an old quaint Bostonian version of the weather ditty or a Canadian version by my mother. I was taught the ditty not this way:

"Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning. 
Red Sky at night, a sailors' delight."

But rather this way:
"Red sky at night, sailor's delight.
Red sky at morn, sailor's forlorn."

Just thought I'd keep that version out there so it doesn't disappear entirely.


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