Erasing an Oil Painting

Eight months after my father’s death, during the week of his birthday, I produced my most criticized painting. To be fair, I refrained from confessing my emotional condition to peers and instructor to allow an honest critique.

My work hung on the wall among six other paintings by classmates. When the discussion arrived at mine, the professor began by saying, “It’s a crude, sad little drawing. I almost pity the attempt to paint, and no one wants their work pitied.” I don’t remember my response; I was half asleep recovering from the night before after spending most of it with the work being scrutinized. She went on to say, “You obviously don’t care about learning the techniques of Western art, so why are you here?” As my peers struggled to hide their laughing faces, the conversation moved on to another painting, and I remained there in silence.

A year or two prior to this particular class, I had been contemplating ways of erasing an oil painting. Due to my tactile fascination of wanting to pursue hidden layers of pigments, I had the idea of applying an electric sander to emulate an erased effect. It was during this critique, the idea came to fruition. I then produced a video of the process entitled, Erasing an Oil Painting.

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