Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What Really is Failure?


 A blog or two ago I wrote that I had let the pressure of performance derail my painting attempts.  I think I really wanted to do well and was disappointed that I had "failed" in my view.  But I had tried.  Years ago, I wouldn't have even considered showing up for such an event!  That is growth for me.

While talking to a student she remarked that she occasionally produces something she will actually show to others.  I remember that day too.  It was a milestone for me to feel I could show someone my work and I was proud of it and did not expect riotous laughter from the viewer!  What I know now is that the more you paint, draw or produce whatever it is you do, the more often that will happen.  I mean honestly, the odds are just better with numbers (hours and miles of paper/canvas).  A point driven home to me in the book the Tipping Point

So while I may not have had the success I wanted in that moment, I realize that I have stretched myself beyond my comfort zone (risk) to even put myself in those high pressure experiences.  And I have gained valuable experience for the future.  Since then I have had several successful paintings.  And a few not so. 

Last night I was painting with some friends.  I was using a panel painted with red (risk) to cover the monstrosity (failure) I painted the week before!  I've never worked on a red toned panel before.  Red is such a strong color and one I use sparingly.  Since I had no expectations or pressure I was up for the experiment.  The resulting painting I am very pleased with. (success)  See a pattern?

I share these thoughts to let you know that I fail more than I succeed.  But my successes come closer together than they used to.  And what, really, is failure?  (that's an entire blog itself!)  I am trying to remember that failure, like any other experience is a learning tool.  It doesn't unnerve me as much as it used to because, I guess I'm more used to it!  I don't shield myself from it as much as I once did. And when I succeed, I celebrate because that means I've learned from my mistakes!

Go forth and fail.   The end result will be more success.   Bet you never thought of it like that!

1 comment:

  1. I love the picture...the red does make it strong, but the face can handle the strong red, it is all balanced...I also love that you treat "failure" as just a part of the process, you create a place in your studio that allows all of us to take penalty free create a place that allows us to push our comfort zones safely...your teaching is another of your great skills...thanks!!