When I teach classes I carry a large leather binder full of my work to show my students.
Over the years, the leather has become warn and marked. But leather, no matter how old it gets seems to take on more character and warmth. The pages inside held a different view for me. I went through each page and carefully took out each page of artwork. Some of the pieces had broken free of their photo corners and needed to be put back into their places. Other pieces seemed to no longer have their place. As I flipped through the pages, I realized that there were certain pieces that were no longer a reflection of what I want to convey as an artist.My Spencerian of 2010 is very different than what it is today. Early pieces were my bird flourishes, done to imitate the work of the " Golden Age Penmen". I no longer pay homage to the past in quite the same way. I take their love of flourishing and try to bring my own style to it now.
It was an emotional cleaning up of the portfolio as well a physical clean up. I have a stack now of about 30 pieces that have been taken out of that portfolio. Each piece taught me lessons, each piece was part of my journey as an artist and every paper served its proper purpose. It was a blessing to go through that portfolio and remove pieces. Now I am left with a smaller portfolio but it is filled with originals that truly reflect where I am with my work. In the past, I have always filed a few representative pieces in a special folder that I keep to show my progress. My pen journey started in 2003 and the years of progress are fun to see in chronogical order. A few of these pieces may find their place in that file while the rest are recycled. I think they have served their purpose well and have taught me every lesson that they could possibly teach. As I closed the sorted out portfolio, I had a sense of freedom and optimism. Lots of room in their to create new work! Lots of room to see what changes I can bring to my work and welcome the next stage of seeing my work evolve. It was a good process for me to go through. The Enchanted Letter Portfolio is next on my list. While each Enchanted Letter in their represents my year long journey with my dear friend Dana Cochran so I will not remove and discard those images. But I will be creating a Book II of that alphabet which better reflects my understanding of drawn letterforms, gilding and miniature painting techniques.
So excited for the future and my next steps. It is always hard to let go of the past. But it is necessary to take the next steps as an artist. This was a healthy step for me.