Learn to Fail Forward.
Here is today’s thought and painting that I would love to share with you.
“At the brink of a challenge, there is also a new discovery.”
As I paint more and more, I find this to be more and more true. Because if you want to get better as painter, you need to paint more things that challenge you.
It is so easy to give up when you are struggling and think:
“I’m not good enough of a painter to tackle this challenge/ subject matter/ landscape/ you name it.”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt like just putting down my brush and thinking:
“If I wait a few months, I’ll magically know how to solve the kinks in my painting. For now, I don’t want to face that feeling of failure.”
In some cases, that can actually be true (IF you are actively trying to get better at your craft and not complacently twiddling your thumbs) because as you grow more as an artist, new revelations and solutions will come to you.
But sometimes, when you gently nudge yourself to push through a painting, it can absolutely do wonders. There’s a difference between throwing in the towel and saying, “Let me just give myself 30 more minutes and see what I can do”, or “let me take a break and come back to it later today,”
I guarantee you will be amazed at what you discover you can achieve if you just breathe, ask yourself what the problem is, and try your best in that moment. Even if the painting doesn’t turn out the way you wanted it to, I am sure you will still have learned something valuable about the process, or, even better, about yourself.
This painting below, Sunday Afternoon Beers (6″x6″ gouache on Cold Press illustration board), is special to me, because it was one of those paintings that when I started out, I was pretty sure the result would be subpar. Halfway in, I had to take a break to eat dinner, and when I came back, I hated the painting (that often occurs). At that moment, I wanted to give up and say- “I’m not good enough at painting cityscapes and people yet. Might as well just call it quits.” However, I am very stubborn, and my other ego would not let me give up. I pushed through into the night for 3 more hours, and told myself to just slow down and enjoy each stroke. As soon as I changed my mindset, magic started to happen.