Death and rebirth

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I don’t believe I’m unique among my colleagues in that I struggle with self-doubt regarding my work. I analyze and analyze some more its quality…and then if things aren’t selling…the anxious questioning begins. “What’s wrong with the painting; why don’t people like it?” I ask. In many cases the assumption is erroneous and the question will probably never be answered.

"Green Pasture, Good Companion" - 18" x 24" - Oil

“Green Pasture, Good Companion” – 18″ x 24″ – Oil….This painting has been around for a long time. I still think it’s a nice painting but wondered if I might be able to improve it. The trees on the right, over time, seemed to appear too artificial…SO…cut, cut, snip, snip.


Every now and then, however, I do succumb to the thought that there’s something wrong with the painting; now sometimes there is, but not always.

Years ago, early in my fine art career, there was a painting I was quite proud of, but after many, many months of it having not sold, I sank into my analytical couch and decided it was the painting’s fault and that it needed to be recomposed. Taking a knife to the canvas, I created two smaller works. Within a week I received a call from a gentleman that wanted to purchase the piece. He had loved it all along but just wasn’t in the position to purchase it until…I cut it up.

"Green Pasture, Good Companion" - 9" x 23.75" - Oil

“Green Pasture, Good Companion” – 9″ x 23.75″ – Oil…The painting was cut just above the backs of the horses, background totally repainted, and light intensified in the foreground. Horses were basically left untouched.


There have been many paintings cut up and reconfigured over the years, some even repainted one or two times. I guess my illustration background and my upbringing have contributed to the great difficulty I have of giving up on a piece. I usually find a way to improve it, and I just hate beginning a project without completing it to my satisfaction.

Now the viewer may not always agree with my decision to cut or repaint a piece, but if I’m at least happy with the changes, I can square up my shoulders and speak proudly and confidently of the new and improved version, or in this case, versions…at least until the whole process is repeated once again.

"Changing Seasons" - 8,38" x 13.38" - Oil

“Changing Seasons” – 8,38″ x 13.38″ – Oil…This is probably hard for you to see, but this is the  upper left portion of the original painting. The barn and silo are in exactly the same spot, only the color was changed, and then everything around it was reworked.


The paintings shown here are the latest in that ongoing struggle to make them better. Has the original painting died so that it could be raised again in a totally new form…only to die again because there’s no buyer? We’ll see.

Have you been there?


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John Pototschnik is an Art Renewal Center Associate Living Master
To view his art and bio, please click HERE


His work may be found in the following fine galleries:
Abend Gallery
Illume Gallery of Fine Art
Southwest Gallery



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