Leonardo da Vinci is said to have once said that "Art is never finished, only abandoned". The meaning I attribute to this statement is that if a concept is tantalizing enough to merit expression in art, then we will frequently return to that concept as our skills improve and our understanding of the concept evolves. An artist never sees a piece as finished, only finished enough for display.
It is not uncommon for me to return to older pieces and concepts that I have explored in the past and to revisit them. Sometimes, it is simply a matter of "finishing" the piece; moving it from one format to another or from a black-and-white illustration to color. In some cases, the piece will remain virtually the same, but I will change the color or clean-up the drawing. Some concepts, however, are revisited and re-expressed as entirely new pieces of art.
There are a few concepts that I have found that I return to on an irregular basis (meaning that there is no particular rhyme or reason to when I will take-up a particular concept again. The Feminine Baphomet design is one such concept that I have explored repeatedly. Baphomet is an occult symbol that largely deal with the unification of opposites and the abandoning of dichotomy. Traditionally, the Baphomet design has been expressed as neither overly feminine or masculine, and equally animalistic and human. I recognize this concept as a symbol of the nature of reality itself, and see that reality as being more feminine or adrongynine than masculine, and treat its perception as human, in particular through the lens of the human mind. Thus my Baphomet tend to be more feminine and human that others. As my exploration of the symbolism and concept continues, new iterations of the design are the result.
"Hook" is a design that has inexplicably drawn my attention several times over the years. The earliest design I created of the BDSM design was embarrassingly primitive. I improved on that design a few years later, then explored it in another fashion, and then created a new piece incorporating a style and design elements I had developed. The various versions of "Hook" demonstrate an evolution in style and technical finesse. I am already considering a more aggressive version of this concept in the near future.
Another early BDSM-concept piece is "Romantic Candlelight. The original piece featured a figure in a compromising situation, chained to eye-ring screws on a wood floor, and in a great deal of distress. The latest version is more suggestive of a compliant, even self-indulgent figure setting a romantic scene in bed. The gulf between the technical skill used between the first and the current version demonstrates my development. The new design incorporates a variety of techniques, such as high contrast between black and white areas and stippling to create transitional tones.
My final example of recycling is "Hell Mouth". This design is the most direct example of an execution of a design that when reviewed I felt almost immediately could be done better. Some of the most important changes are subtle. I adjusted the line weights to transition from thick-to-thin in order to create a greater sense of form on the figure. The expression of the face is slightly more aggressive. Line-work on both the body of the figure and the flames include more rounded shapes, with the over-all design becoming more oval than the original. I intentionally left the colors flat both as an aesthetic choice and to lend to the design more flexibility in shifting media.
Recycling my design concepts gives me an opportunity to gauge my development as an artist, as well as the satisfaction of applying newly learned techniques to my favorite pieces. There is satisfaction also bringing up-to-date an idea that was tantalizing in the past, a good idea often bares repeating. No doubt, I will return to these concepts in years to come, always with an eye on improving.