The After-Life… for Paintings

It’s so small you don’t need to measure since the sofa looks tiny in the cavernous furniture store but after you buy it, the size seems to grow. It barely fits in your car and when you get home, the little couch somehow expanded and takes up half the living room.

Have you ever noticed that paintings can change too? They can take on a life of their own. When you finish one late at night, after you clean up your brushes, take one last look before going to bed because it will never be the same again. Something happens when you sleep and in the morning, when you look with fresh eyes, it looks different. More harmonious colors, better composition than you remembered, or sometimes total disaster.  How does it get either better or worse seemingly on its own? And, several days latter it may have changed again. Some physical changes may be part of the explanation; paint may dry lighter or duller, illumination by cool daylight or warm incandescent cause the paint to reflect differently, and its possible elves could have been doing some touching up, but all of these things are not likely to produce enough of a change, to change your mind.

This can be explained by our own standards changing. When we in the midst of creating, we have a vision or are caught up in the fun. We judge by comparing our creation with our vision, but over time our memory fades and we no longer have a standard. Good thing we create something because it’s all that is left afterwards. If you don’t like what you create, don’t tear it up or throw it away until after you had some time for the after-life effects. Ideas change too so sleeping on a good idea can make it better, or not.

– have you seen your creations take on life of their own?



  1. It might also have to do with right and left hemispheres of the brain. The right is more likely at work in the creative stages, the left in the finalising stages. When one looks at it when it’s finished, the left brain is more likely to be at work with the right poking its nose in when one’s tired!
    Val recently posted..AgeMy Profile

    • Me too Val, I thought that too. A lot of artist has the left and right hemispheres of the brain which it totally helped them to be more creative on arts.

  2. Hi Val,
    Could be, our perceptions change over time and our brains are so complex, some of this may be related to shifting between right and left brain functions. – David

  3. Every paintings that we see have their own meanings and expresses very deep emotions. As we all see, our belief might be strong enough to change our inner selves.