I have a theory, that there are no actual failed paintings. I believe that every painting is a journey to the next level of your artistic journey.
In the oil painting above, I loved the idea of a still life painting something that I hadn’t seen anybody do before. For some reason, I just couldn’t get the game controller to look convincing enough. It could be the studio lighting, or it could have been the background color choice. But it didn’t work for me, so it was discarded.
There is no shame in discarding an artwork that you feel is not up to par. If you keep all of your failed paintings, it would fill the entire studio, just trash it, make notes, learn from it, but don’t let it take up space, just move on. You need that precious space for your better artworks that are yet to be produced.
Furthermore, on the journey of oil painting or painting in general, you have got to be able to learn how to let go of a painting for two reasons. One, if the painting is subpar, and two, if you sell it. Just like riding a bicycle or riding a horse, and you fall down, you have to pick yourself back up, brush the dirt off and start over. The successful artists will do just that, clean the palette, get a fresh canvas, and start again.