It sounds like Jackson Pollock was not afraid of revising his work. How do you feel about revisions on your work? I have a few thoughts to say about this.
One of the things I notice as I am teaching is many of my students are very anxious to get through their assignments to finish. Finishing is the thrust. Then the question is, what’s next? Well, usually that work was done in great haste with limited thought and skill. Just bang it out without any real care for quality and precision. This both stresses and concerns me because I am seeing it everywhere not just in my art classes. People don’t want to take the time to give time to projects because they are always in such a hurry. It is not unusual for me to hand a student’s work back with a redo or revise request. The moans and groans don’t cut it with me. Don’t give me trash or you will get it back. Discipline is something that is a necessary trait in the arts. Discipline to practice, work hard to do well, and revise…revise…revise.
There have been many times in my own work I redo, take something completely out if it’s a painting or trash a piece because it just doesn’t work. Sometimes when a serious mistake has been made that is the only answer, trash it. But at least be open to the fact that it needs work. None of us are perfect with a perfect product every time, or ever for that fact. Revision for an artist, writer, composer is a fact of life and it has to be done.
We all know by looking at our work when it needs revision. There may be just one tiny space that isn’t working but it is there and we can see it. Going into a state of denial is not going to change it. If you want to sell that piece it had better be corrected because ever other person will see it also. Slow down and give the art a chance to bloom.
All of the really serious artists who have “made it” in the art world practice revision. None of them are happy with a first attempt. I was thinking about Jackson Pollock and his philosophy on this. So much of his work was spontaneous, but after actually viewing his artwork up close and personal, I could see there definitely is a plan. He appears to toss paint and let it fall where it may, but most of those tosses were deliberate. So, you cannot judge a person’s style as random when you hear a quote like this coming from them. He was concerned about every toss or dribble of paint he added to the canvas.
My advice on revisions, the same as to my students, is look at your work in earnest, if it isn’t up to snuff, then it needs work. Chances are you will know that before you ask. Don’t fall into that mediocrity pit and accept a first attempt as finished. Give yourself time to produce and cure, like a fine wine~!