Book 6, cover; egg tempera on Shikibu Gampi paper, 5 1/8 x 5 1/2 in.
Sometimes it's a good idea to keep works we're not sure of instead of immediately trashing them. I made these two new book paintings a couple of months ago, didn't like them then, and stuck them in a folder out of sight; I suppose I didn't throw them away because I wasn't quite sure how intensely I disliked them. Last week I attempted a new book painting which truly was a failure, so I took these out to look at again, and I thought "hmmm....these aren't so bad".
Book 6, pp. 2, 3
With Book 6 it was the paper I was unsure of, since I liked the painting. I thought it was too smooth and too tissue-papery. Shikibu gampi is a handmade paper from Echizen Prefecture in Japan (I bought it at NY Central Art Supply) by master papermaker Futoshi Umedo.
Book 6, pp. 4, 5
When I looked at it again, I appreciated the paper's delicacy and lustrous quality, and didn't mind the wrinkling around each painted shape.
Book 6, pp. 6, 7
At only 13 gr, it is very translucent, which is perfect for having the paintings on each page interact with the ones before and after, so the entire book becomes a composition.
Book 6, back cover
Of course, without actually handling the book, my online friends are not able to understand what my doubts were and if I'm right to remove it from the dust heap.
Book 7, egg tempera on Sekishu natural paper, 5 x 5 in.
My doubts about Book 7 were of a different nature: I thought it was too busy, had too many elements. My previous five book paintings were more spare (you can see them at this link), so this made me uncomfortable.
Book 7, pp. 2, 3
As I looked at it again, I thought "well, why not more complex?".
Book 7, pp. 4, 5
Lines, curved and straight, of many colors, interact with each other.
Book 7, pp. 6, 7
Where I'd before seen a bothersome overactivity, now I saw just a different approach to composing.
Book 7, back cover
At the end, a simple square finishes the painting. I don't know how you, my readers, will respond to these previously-thought failures, but I have come to accept them. And it's a lesson to me to hang on to my marginal works until I can look at them with fresh eyes.