A few weeks ago I received an email from someone who said that she inherited a painting from her grandmother. The painting definitely had my signature. She described the painting but I had no recollection of it. I asked if she could send me a picture of of the painting.
I recognized the painting as one that I did in my final year in art school.
After graduation I entered many street shows in an attempt to sell paintings and get established as a fine artist. These paintings are from that "era".
She also asked why I had painted on the back side of the painting.
If you work in watercolor you know how expensive watercolor paper is. In class we were required to complete a watercolor painting every day. I quickly learned that good watercolor paper was worth the cost because you could paint on both sides.
I was surprised to find that this was the painting on the back of the paper. In contrast to the first example with the hard edges, muddy color, etc., this has elements of a good watercolor painting: good composition, clean edges, and color harmony. It is a painting I would be satisfied with today.
You may want to look through your older works–you may find a gem in the rubble. If not, you will definitely look at your work differently. You'll find that your tastes haven't changed, but that you have grown through knowledge and experience...and a lot of watercolor paper.
In my first watercolor class with Mr. Shapiro, we were told to select a black and white photograph from a box of photographs and paint it in color.
This 45 year old watercolor is that very first painting.