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From “Ruined” to “Riches” – by Lorena Bowser

Ruined to Riches graphic Jan15From “Ruined” to “Riches” by Lorena Bowser

 I start with the "moral of the story", which usually comes at the end:  Every problem has a solution! 

 If I have learned anything at all in life, it is that there is no problem that cannot be fixed.  Well, we all know that art is an expression of life - so a "ruined" painting must have a "fix" somewhere. That "somewhere" lies in our attitude! Take each mistake as a challenge and you may be surprised at the result. Turning the mistake around can be something as simple as literally turning the canvas or paper around, and can give you a brand new way to look at it.  If there are obvious trees or people when looked at in the "right way", I consider disguising them with shapes and colors that fool the eye. Or I make the painting into an abstract that "hides" the obvious.  If you can't see a new painting in this, try making it into a collage with a variety of materials and new paint to pull the composition together.  As a last resort, I have even ripped a painting into pieces and reformed them into a beautiful abstract. 

 I will occasionally share my "ruins to riches" experience with some artworks that, well, truthfully, a lot of artists may have thrown in the trash.  Boy, am I glad that I didn't. Each and every one of them has become a success story:  Several have been sold. A few of them have received awards in juried shows.  I count them all in my best-liked category, as they are the ones that have been pointed out as favorites by most people who view my art.  I was told by an art instructor that one of my paintings wasn’t good enough to enter the annual juried show.  I entered it anyway and it got in. Since it was not in the genre of the other paintings in the exhibit, I later asked the judge why he had chosen it. He said: “it was just so beautiful that I had to include it!”

 I actually sold this painting three times. Through bad timing and miscommunication, the artwork in question was promised but after no follow-up came over many months, I sold it to another person, while a third person thought that I expected her to buy it just because she had once told me it was her favorite. She just sent me the money out of the blue, without checking with me first.  At that point the first person had sent me the money for the painting I had already sold to another.  Well, to save face (mine) and make everyone happy, I repainted the exact same work twice so that all three could have it, without telling any of them.  It wasn't easy.  I’m happy to say that they each received an original.

 Although watercolor is my medium de préférence, I get excited about new techniques and have discovered that I work much better when I am faced with a challenge, so I try any new medium that comes my way.  Maybe that's why these art works are successful:  each one presented a unique challenge that I just couldn’t pass up!  For me, “challenge” is synonymous with “inspiration.” The response these works received from my public has confirmed my philosophy that there is no "bad" that "good" does not come from.  OK, that's not an artist's statement.  It's a general one that we are all acquainted with.   Yet in my estimation there is nothing in the world that is really general.  If a good proverb applies to anything we do in life, it applies to everything!  We only need to find the connection.

 So go ahead - ruin a painting!  Then set your imagination free. . .

 Next time: The painting that started it all!  - The Last Leaves (sold for $2000)


Lorena Bowser is a lifetime artist and linguist.  She has lived all over the world and really knows how to make the pennies scream.  Enjoy more of Lorena's resourcefulness at her website and blog: at http://lorenasartandprose.blogspot.com

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