Thursday, August 12, 2010

Lessons on The Fear of Failure in Art

As I have begun thinking about, praying about and planning out new art classes for the Fall one thing continues to go through my mind... Why are we so afraid of "messing up?" When I speak with women about art, they all sound hopeful and doubtful at the same time: "I can't even draw a straight line", they say in exasperation. Or they say "I don't have an artistic bone in my body." It is a common refrain... but most women would love to just try... but this fear keeps them from it, or keeps them from enjoying it.

I thought about all this because I recently painted a mural on my bathroom wall. The picture of it looks miles better than it looks in person, but it is nice. It only took a couple of hours and I was done with it. Over it, and was not doing any more... and no, I don't want a job doing them. It was fun, it turned out nicely, but it won't be there forever... I will get tired of it and will one day paint over it. But as I painted I thought about the myriad other strange and funny things I have painted (recently the inside of my chicken house - but that is another post for another day) and why I paint them so suddenly and with such reckless abandon... And it hit me:


I am not so concerned that it won't look good, or right, or be beautiful enough, or perfect enough... because IT IS ONLY PAINT!!! What is the worst thing that can happen? Nothing really bad actually - and the same is true when you come to the canvas... What is the worst thing that can happen when you put paint on a canvas? You may not like it, BUT, it is not a life or death situation. There is nothing to be afraid of.... It is not like you are packing your own parachute!!! You can paint over it! (And I love doing this from time to time - very freeing!)

Upon further reflection I realized that I am just not afraid of failure... Failure in my life has become like an old friend that points me in a new direction. Ask Edison. I have failed at so many things in my life - but I realize now it was just narrowing down my field, honing me in on my desires, tearing away the excess... burning away the dross... and that brings me out less scattered, more focused, less encumbered, more pure... And I need all the help with that I can get.

So - onward to new painting classes with fearlessness!

Next weeks lesson: Packing Your Own Parachute!