Out of Sight, Out of Mind ~ Rediscovering my own paintings!

We’ve been getting organized trying to get our house ready to be listed.  Since my studio is in our house, some of my responsibilities have been to repaint my studio walls, box up items we’ll be taking with us to Charleston, and throw out anything that we don’t want to take.  

I had hundreds of Maine photographs in boxes that I’ve culled through.  I’ve reduced the number of boxes significantly, trying to keep only the very best images.  You never know when someone might ask, “Will you paint me a Maine scene?”   

I’ve thrown out my pastels (chalk), which I haven’t used since college!  Along with the pastels went the India ink. My old easel went to the recycling center.  

Old etchings, drawings, and paintings which didn’t stand up over time are now gone! 

All along the way we’ve been good about having my work photographed and chronicled by title, completion date, date of sale, etc…  

In the old days we’d pay around $125 a pop to have professional photographers photograph each painting. They would in turn give us both 35mm slides and 4 x 5 color negatives.  The 4 x 5 negatives were the best way to record the tiniest of details in a painting, in case you ever wanted to reproduce the painting on a large scale for print purposes.  

So we have a number of boxes of 35mm slides, 2 ¼ inch negatives, 4 x 5 negatives, and photographs of my paintings for record purposes.

The other day we were going through them, reminding ourselves what’s in all the boxes.  

To our surprise we came across a number of negatives of paintings I hardly remember painting!  That’s when you know you’ve been painting for a long time.  This all happened to coincide with me turning 60 and hitting the 25 year mark of painting.  

I know forgetfulness and loss of memory is part of getting older, but how does one forget painting something that probably took a month or more to paint?  That’s scary!!!  ☺

William R. Beebe in the early days starting a  month long painting!

William R. Beebe in the early days starting a  month long painting!

I was really hoping to share these paintings with you, but that will have to wait for another blog.  Turns out that along the way we have gone digital.  I started photographing my own artwork and 35mm and 4 x 5 negatives are no longer necessary.  Along with them going by the wayside, so did the need for my Epson negative scanner. After storing it for years in the attic, I finally gave it away thinking, “we’ll never use it”.  

Now I find myself researching scanning color negatives and how best to do it without spending a bundle, in order to see my own paintings on a large scale.  

One painting we rediscovered in 4 x 5 negative format was of the Baltimore Orioles stadium scoreboard featuring a tribute to Cal Ripken.  If memory serves me correctly, I believe the painting was to be a gift to Cal Ripken from MBNA, where I was the artist in residence.  Several others were of office buildings that were special projects. They weren’t for MBNA quarterly report covers so the negatives were put in storage, and the images weren’t to be seen again until we just discovered them in the box.  

Out of sight, out of mind!

So if you’re interested in seeing the lost Beebe paintings please check back soon.  ☺  I might try and jimmy-rig our printer/scanner to copy the negatives.  It’s either that or take them somewhere to have them scanned, or buy a new scanner.  It’s always something!  

Mistakes like getting rid of a perfectly good (albeit dated) scanner brings back the, “You never know when you might need something pack rat in me”.   Now I wonder, should I continue to hold onto my old Pentax K1000 film camera and two lenses or is digital here to stay???  ☺

Thank you for reading my journal and for your interest in my art.  Whenever I get big blocks of free time again, I’ll get back to painting.  It’s hard to be away from the easel for so long but the de-cluttering does feel good!  ☺  


One of the joys of being an artist is having the freedom to follow my passion...
— William R. Beebe
What's next? Drawing by William R. Beebe

What's next?

Drawing by William R. Beebe