The Only Thing I Ever Got From You Was Sorrow

"Joy" My latest drawing - for the scrap heap

My latest drawing – for the scrap heap

It is ironic that the title for the above drawing was to be “Joy” for, to quote David Bowie, “The only thing I ever got from you was sorrow”.   I have done more to the colours since I took this photo; pushed and pulled, added and subtracted, all the time eroding the integrity of the pencil work.  Some areas by now look like a much-used dishcloth!

Two other drawings have succumbed to the wrecking ball this week.  One was drawn late last year and the other a couple of months ago.  The first, “Greetings” committed the sin of being boring.  Other than that there was nothing particularly wrong with it – except the hand was rather weak.

Greetings Too insipid for my taste

Too insipid for my taste

“Materializing” was a drawing whose problems I thought I had solved until I looked at it more recently.  Viewed alongside three strong drawings from this year, it showed itself to be a poor relation.

Materializing Now dematerialised

Now dematerialised

It was easy to say goodbye to those two drawings.  It wasn’t done on the spur of the moment plus I was already mentally removed from them.  However for “Joy” it was much harder to let go.  I’m not going to put it away for later because I know it is fatally flawed and I’ve spent enough time trying to make it work.  To (nearly) quote our ex-Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam, “Well may we say ‘God save the Queen’, because nothing will save this drawing”.

Of course I’m sad but – in the end – it’s only art.


21 thoughts on “The Only Thing I Ever Got From You Was Sorrow

  1. Jennifer Rose

    sometimes we just have to realize things are not working and try something else. everything with art is a learning experience, so even with failed work its not a waste of time in the end

  2. John Z

    Hi Julie. You had me laughing with your comments. We ARE our harshest critics, artists that is. Watercolorist, Lian Quan Zhen said, “Painting should be a happy experience, not a pressured activity. No artist can paint a masterpiece every time he/she paints.” I keep this posted in front of me every time I sit down and pick up a pencil.

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      What a great quote, John. Thanks for sharing it with me. Don’t mind if I do – copy it down and put it at my art desk. I was saying on Facebook, that out of the last 16 drawings I have done, I have thrown out four. That means there are 12 finished works I’m really happy with. I think that is what counts.

  3. sherrytelle

    I actually audibly gasped when I read this Cousin! Although I do it all the time, it is different as I am not at this level. “Materializing” draws me in as it is full of the rich colours I love. Greetings I think I don’t like as much, only because I so love “Step By Step” so much of the same Geisha. Joy is such a great title for a lovely piece, it makes me smile every time I see it. I do understand, but I mourn their loss!

  4. occasionalartist

    Your constant quality control Julie is an inspiration. Your ability to walk away from so much work is amazing and as I see you do it again and again I begin to understand. I can see why you are not happy with these three, but I am so sad that ‘Joy’ did not work out, it was such a special image. We will just look forward to your next drawing. Karen

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Hi Karen, hope you had a lovely time in W.A. It is easier for me to walk away than it is to keep it and put up with it. I don’t want to have my mistakes staring at me from the walls. I know everyone is different when it comes to such things…

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      I’ve been doing it all my life, Bonny. I’ve chucked many and I’ll chuck many more. It is just that, before social media, nobody knew about it. Now everyone who reads my blogs and posts knows. And why not, who needs to hide these things? Thanks for your comment.

  5. annemccaughey

    I can understand the other two…..but I love Joy! However if paper quality has disintegrated, then it won’t look good in reality I suppose. You good strong person you. Hope this lets me leave this comment!

  6. anna warren portfolio

    You are absolutely right to have done this – not because I think the works are bad, but because you are not satisfied. Everyone (as shown by the response on Facebook!) will have a different opinion, and some people are unable to understand why you are not prepared to accept ‘good enough’ as in their eyes all your work is brilliant. I do think the majority of your work is brilliant, but you are only human, and if you were satisfied with every piece you did, that would probably mean that some really aren’t up to standard – YOUR standard that is. It actually should be a comfort to others that you can produce work that isn’t quite right, so many people believe that artists of a certain standing never make a mistake. Bravo! On to the next!

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Good point, Anna. Thanks for both your comments. I also like the bottom right hand. There are always areas that really work well in my failure drawings. So I try everything I can think of to pull the rest up – yet – sometimes it can’t be done – mostly, when there is something intrinsically wrong with the composition itself. I don’t chuck willy nilly; only as the absolute last resort.


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