Sometimes it's cringe-inducing to look backwards at old work, but it's also very satisfying to see where I am now. Among these amateur paintings and poorly executed drawings (I'm allowed to say that because I created them), I see work that I still remember creating. I remember doing that portrait of my mom on a saturday morning at the Ridgewood Art institute. I remember doing that landscape in a cemetery in Philadelphia on a hot summer day. These older works transport me back to very specific places, times and with senses. That is a lot of why I love painting; it is a physical and mental activity every time I make a painting. The frustrations bring themselves forward in my mind when I see the painting again. Even paintings that I have long since forgotten about come back immediately when I see it again. And each one has a story, even if the painting is terrible. Can you imagine how interest it would be to talk to Rembrandt, Vermeer, Bouguereau or Rockwell. Rockwell wrote an autobiography that I am quite fond of, which hits on a lot of these points also.
I'm sure I'll look back with this same sense as I get older.