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
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.