Is it worth keeping all your paintings as you practice?

edited August 2022 in Painting
I'm in the early stages of learning to paint and am using 11x12 sheets of canvas. I can store them pretty easily but I don't know if the clutter is worth it. Have any of you regretted tossing work from your early days? I just finished painting #4. So they are truly practice pieces.


  • I think it's good to keep them for a while so you can see your progress. After a couple of years, as you become more accomplished, you can toss them. I did so didn't regret it because my early stuff was so bad.  :)
  • DryPaintBrush

    I keep digital photos of all my paintings on dvd and hang on to about half a dozen oldies framed on the wall. Paintings I don’t want to keep are lightly sanded and primed to go around again. Not really a problem as I might only paint six in a year.

    Each week I mulch about 10 A2 or A3 newsprint / craft paper drawings and apply fixative to the 2 or 3 l want to keep and store in a display folder. The keepers are also photographed for continued work on an iPad with Procreate.

    What is important is that the practice pieces are used to improve. The digitally stored images can be annotated with…

    *** three dot points of what looks good
    *** three dot points of what could be better
    *** three dot points of what to try next time.

  • I have paintings that are 20+ years old . . . obviously some early stuff.  I have learned a lot from them . . . how far I've come, how far I have to go.
  • You can also use them to experiment with like trying different varnishes, varnish removal and reapplication.
  • I paint mostly for the bin.  Lots of quick studies in oil on prepared paper or paperboard.

    I get matboard cut-offs from a local framing shop, seal them and prime. Or Bristol board or heavy watercolor paper. I'm not a fan on modern synthetic gesso, so I just use oil-based primer. Since I don't sell my works I'm really not concerned about "archive quality" though I do use better-quality paints and brushes.

    I paint to relax, work on technique and effect.
  • I paint people's pets most of the time so I can just give them away. But I do take photos first.
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