So this week I wanted to touch on this question – what should I do with my old artworks? It’s a great question, as over the years you can really start to build up a collection of work that will just sit there. So, in this blog I am going to share with you my top tips on what to do with your old artwork.

Prep work

Now, this is part of the prep work for January workshops – make 2021 your best year yet. They start on 7th January 2021 and will run over two weeks. If you haven’t signed up yet or want to know more information, click here. 

But a big part of the prep work is about reflection of the last few years and how our perceptions change over time about our success and the journey we’re on. It’s also really important to reflect on your life as a whole and what you want life to look like in the future. 

Clearing out

Another big part of the prep work is having a clear out. I always think that this time of year, as we’re fast approaching the new year, a good clear out can really help us mentally prepare for the new, as well as physically. It allows you to create space for new goals, ambitions, projects and just life in general. It helps our mind to focus when we get rid of the clutter around. 

From doing this, some members inside the Hub have been asking, ‘Michelle, what should I do with all my artwork?’ So, I thought I would share with you my tips for when sorting out your artwork. 

Don’t throw old artwork away!

The one thing I always say to people – don’t chuck it away. There are a few reasons why. Sometimes an artwork can feel like it doesn’t serve a purpose any more, like you’ve outgrown it. It may not feel you with pride or it may feel like the old you. When this happens I always suggest to people to reuse it. 

Find another purpose for it. Paint over it and turn it into something different. Recreate something that is completely different and work into what was already there. Follow the pattern and turn it into something else. 

Donate to charity  

Another thing you can do is donate old artwork to charity. If there is some work that you like and is good but it just doesn’t fit your voice anymore then donate it. I know quite a few artists who do this every year. They donate a few pieces to a charity that has meaning to them and the artwork will then go to auction. It’s lovely to know that your work is doing something good for the community and you are giving back to the community whilst raising money for a cause that is close to you.

Open studio

Option number 3 is to have an open studio, or email people on your list. Make sure you are clear on saying that you are doing this because you have a new collection coming out and you’re excited to go in a new direction, but you have some previous works up for grabs as you need to make space in your studio. Make it clear and explain that that is the reason for the reduced price. 

It may be a little tricky at the moment to hold an actual open studio because of pandemic, but emailing your people and doing it online may be a great alternative. 

Learn, learn, learn

Lastly, before you do anything with your old artwork, learn from them. Sit back and look at them and review why you made it. 

I still have work from 10 years ago that I looked back at recently and have only started to see patterns in my work then and my work now, as well as starting to see points that I actually like in them. However, 10 years ago, I didn’t like them at all and thought they were awful. It’s so important to keep track of all your pieces. The good, the bad and the ugly. 

You don’t need to keep them all physically, but take pictures and put them in sketch so you have a visual record of everything you’ve produced. Pop it in there, with the date you made it, the story behind it, bits you like, bits you don’t like. This is so important for reflection when you need it. 

I love to get my old sketchbooks out and sit and look back. Work from 10 years ago now starts to make sense to me and it’s amazing to see recurring patterns within your work throughout the years. 

Without doing this, you don’t have anything to reflect on. It’s actually mind blowing when you start to look back and analyse all that you’ve made. 

There were things that I’ve been looking back at recently that I didn’t really like, and I still don’t like that much, but then I just notice a certain part of the piece where I’m thinking, that’s really interesting. I really like how that leaf turned out even if I didn’t like the whole painting, but I really like this bit, and I’ve only just started liking it this year. I didn’t like it during the last 10 years, but now I’m thinking more about art and how it’s all coming together. There was just something interesting in this leaf that I’m trying to do now. So it’s mind-blowing when you start to look back and just analyse and reflect on the things that you’ve done in the way that you made things.

And I will leave you with this – let’s shine! 

Much love, 
Michelle xx