This is an excitement few artists can relate to, but if I would love to share my elation with you anyway. I’ve had the beautiful problem of getting into galleries too early in my journey. Through connections and some early capacity to paint, I had exhibitions before I probably should have. Which left me having a lot of pressure to produce. 

The problem with having to produce is that you don’t get the time to problem solve through nagging issues that constantly poke their ugly head. It’s generally not welcome to share your failures, but as a teacher – this helps my students immensely. All artists produce crap – ALL. Sure, the disappointing pieces come less often and they’re not the same level of “bad”, but the disappointment feels the same. The disappointment feeling is amplified by having to produce. The focus becomes less about finding evolving and creative ways to face some of the nagging issues and instead you put the piece to the side because the clock is ticking and solving the problem is not coming soon enough.

So… today I sat down. Facing a piece I want to nail. I am not giving up on this piece. This is a problem I face often. Instead of that panic and terror of failing creeping in yet again, I got to take a breath and enjoy the visual conundrum I’ve gotten myself into. Problem solving is part of creativity and one I relish in – one I’ve missed dearly.

I’ll give you a few peaks of what I’m enjoying about this… and.. gasp… I will show you the failure in real time.

I’m enjoying the thick paint, high contrast and different colours of this painting. This subject is quite different for me and one I’ve always wanted to explore.

Aside from really just loving birds and being so curious about them, they offer unique opportunities for brushwork. I’m excited that I’m finding ways to play with this.

However, I don’t want to be stuck painting actual backgrounds as they are. I want to find patterns and ways to play with texture and dimension in the background. I am certainly not at the place where I’ve solved this, but the drive and excitement to explore is there. With the space to “Fail” again and again and again I will have the time and space to solve this in ways that are fitting for my creative output.

So… I encourage you to fail hard from time to time. Enjoy the evolution of failure. Don’t feel the need for each piece to be perfect because it is the need that often kills a painting. A brilliant artist, Connor Charlesworth loosely re-quoted a beautiful saying from Enrique Martinez Celaya “in a good work of art you will find successes and failures next to each other. If you want the good far from the bad you will have safety, but not art.”

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