Kill Your Darlings
“Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.”
― Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
King’s recommendation to writers came to mind recently, as I was preparing a small (10 works) exhibit of my landscapes for inclusion in May’s Art Walk.
First I cut from 96 selections down to 60, then down to 30. Then the blood really started to pour and I got it down to 15 (with help; always enlist an accomplice in the final stages). With brutal cruelty, I pared it down to 13 and ordered up the 12×18 prints, 18×24 frame, mats, etc. and awaited the incoming.
It is always a thrill to see photos printed out in large format after having only seen and edited and judged them on a computer monitor, no matter how large. We are so digitally focused these days, it is refreshing to make an image tangible and hold it in your hand, to peer closely at it, to inhale that faintly intoxicating chemical perfume.
Mounting, however, is something best left to professionals. But, never mind, I battled with dust motes and errant hairs and got them all secured in their frames. And I only had to un-assemble four after forgetting to sign them.
Interestingly, the majority of the images I selected were captured in winter. That’s just how it turned out. When I started paring the images down to a dirty dozen, I saw certain color patterns – blues and whites – and decided that would be the exhibit’s unifying look.
The images are now hung at Aromed and awaiting Friday night’s opening. If you are not familiar with Art Walk, the setup is simple: local retailers host artists’ works in their shops for a day, week, or month, and it gives exposure to the art, while adding foot traffic for the stores. Genius.
Friday night there will be crackers and punch, and people will offer polite comments and nods, and I will stare at the 10 images I chose, remembering the hours of waiting or moments of luck that enabled them, and wonder if, in the end, I spared the right darlings.