Remem­ber last week, when I showed you my “failed” paint­ing and had to destroy it? And how scary that was for me to do? Well, I knew it was impor­tant for me to do it, but I had no idea just how pro­found and pow­er­ful an expe­ri­ence it would be.

The New Painting That Came from the Old

First, let me intro­duce you to the paint­ing that even­tu­al­ly did come out of the expe­ri­ence. I call it Per­sis­tent­ly Untamed, because, well, that’s exact­ly the process I went through with it, and it also fit metaphor­i­cal­ly with what I real­ized I want­ed to con­vey: the strength that ris­es through the per­sis­tent and untamed life force in us all, no mat­ter how dif­fi­cult our cir­cum­stance. I real­ized that was the true essence of what I was try­ing to con­vey, and what the paint­ing tru­ly want­ed to be. That was its–and my–true voice.

I learned so much from the expe­ri­ence. But the most impor­tant thing I learned was that when we allow our­selves to feel the fear, to acknowl­edge it, and yes, even hon­or it and express grat­i­tude for it because it does have a nec­es­sary place when it comes to our sur­vival, it is only then that we can sit with it, walk through it, release it, and move on. It’s when we try to squelch it or run from it that it takes over. I’m not will­ing to allow fear to take over.

A Bonus: The “Failed” Version Wasn’t So Bad After All

My "failed" lupines painting

My “failed” lupines paint­ing from last week

Here’s some­thing else that’s inter­est­ing. When I took anoth­er look at the third iter­a­tion of the “failed” version–it was maybe a cou­ple of days later–I real­ized it wasn’t as big a fail­ure as I’d ini­tial­ly thought. Now, it didn’t work at the time because it wasn’t true to what my inner voice need­ed and want­ed to express, but now that I have some dis­tance, and now that I’ve paint­ed the ver­sion that need­ed to come out, I can see with new eyes.

Inter­est­ing­ly, when I spoke with an artist bud­dy ear­li­er this week–her name is Diane; she’s an incred­i­ble abstract artist, and she and I talk week­ly to sup­port each oth­er and hold our­selves account­able to our goals–she men­tioned that she admired the “failed” ver­sion as well. She liked the light and the mys­tery going on in the back­ground, as well as how the flow­ers were abstract­ed.

I didn’t say any­thing at that point because we were wrap­ping up our con­ver­sa­tion and the call had gone longer than expect­ed already, giv­en how much we had to talk about, but I agree with her.

Perspective Is All

See­ing with new eyes is very impor­tant. Diane had a sim­i­lar expe­ri­ence with a paint­ing she hat­ed the week before, too. Some­times, many times, a shift in per­cep­tion makes all the dif­fer­ence. Rather than regret that I cov­ered that ver­sion up and cre­at­ed some­thing new, I’m choos­ing to learn from it and move on. I dis­cov­ered a cou­ple of new tech­niques I’m eager to try, and I see strengths I can build on. How could that ever be con­sid­ered a fail­ure?

Here’s to the pow­er of art and its abil­i­ty to help us walk through fear and see with new eyes.