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The Reinvention of Prior Art – Robert Glenn

Mona Lisa - Leonardo Da Vinci

Mona Lisa - Leonardo Da Vinci

The Reinvention of Prior Art - by Robert Glenn

When winter comes, it's time to look again at summer. Reinventing the experiences of stellar times, particularly plein air or live model events, can be a rich mine. Second-generation thinking refines images, facilitates better design and draws out creative truth.

Even third-generation work can take on a power and presence that initial efforts don't have. I'm not talking about taking field sketches to studio works. Field sketches often have a delightfully rough and uneven quality that eludes later pieces. I'm talking about capital works to capital works.

It's valuable to cruise earlier efforts--even online after they're sold--and try to think of ways to make them better. New feelings and dramas evolve, often merely with the passage of time. Changing size or format is generally a good idea. You need to think of your prior picture as a montage of often inadequate actors. As well as adding and removing bodies, feel free to shuffle them around. Get out your director's chair. While appreciating what you did right in the past, free your mind to reinvent and refine in areas previously not thought of. Here are just a few of the opportunities:

Simplify the cluttered and clutter the simple.

Mystify or abstract areas for greater interest.

See where softening or hardening would help.

Come further to light or to dark.

Come further to colour enrichment and sophistication.

Reinforce or reinstate negative areas.

Be more patient in areas where you were less before.

Be more flamboyant in areas where you were previously tight.

Look closely at focus areas with the idea of taking them further. Look around and try to identify timid areas and run scenarios of their improvement. Very often the addition of glow or the further development of activation and eye control re-jig to superior work.

Contemplate and philosophize on your prior work. Look around for new possibilities of metaphor, elegance, angst, synergy, syntagma, etc. Just because you've previously brought the mystery to a satisfactory conclusion does not mean the file has been forever closed.

PS: "Invention breeds invention." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Esoterica: Complacency, satisfaction and the ringing of the cash register are three devils that hinder creative growth. The perpetual student does not stray far from the path of invention and re-invention. That's where real satisfaction lies. That's the real motivation that keeps you at it. "We are created creative," says Maya Angelou, "and can invent new scenarios as frequently as they are needed."

Robert Glenn has given ARTAZINE permission to post his articles on our website.  Please visit his website for more insightful articles! The Painter's Post -

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