Practicing Art – Combating Discouragement After a Failed Painting
Feelings of Discouragement
I start every piece of art with sparkly goals and bubbly excitement for What-it-Could-Be.
My favorite part of every painting is The Beginning. Frequently, the last brush stroke is steeped in a whirlpool of feeling bummed that it didn’t come out the way I envisioned it in my mind, buoyed with an attaboy that I finished. The end of the art is not even close to the excitement of the beginning.
Practice Over Perfection
This tug-of-war between gladness upon completion, and revelation of my skill deficit is so regular, I’ve learned to push the disappointment into a dumbwaiter to be rinsed in the perspective-kitchen and returned to me as encouragement.
We all have that choice; spin the dial on your viewpoint, and aim for something that gets you back to work. Don’t settle for being bummed.
Mine your experience for what worked, so you’ll stay with the process. Especially if you know encouragement fills your sails, and failure locks you in cement shoes.
Tips and Links for You
- Do you subscribe to the Strathmore Artist Supplies Newsletter? You can see this month’s edition here. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom page where they list this year’s selection of free online workshops, including realistic drawing in charcoal, urban sketching and painting with gouache.
- Have you visited the Artsy website, and their series on The Future of Art? They ask artists from different disciplines (architecture, digital art, etc.) to talk about the future of art, and each answer is edited into a little four-minute video clip. Check them out here.
- If you’re overwhelmed with options for watercolor paper, I’ve assembled a 3-page primer on everything I wondered about when I first started painting. Hot Press, Cold Press, Rough, Weights, Blocks vs Sheets, etc. You can download the document for free, and it comes with a series of emails loaded with watercolor-related links and tips that will arrive in your inbox weekly after you download the info sheet. Get that here.
Audiobooks in the Art Studio
If you’ve visited before, you know I’m a fan of audiobooks while working on art. Storytelling while creating lightens the grip on your art supplies, and occupies the part of your brain that habitually frets over the outcome of your creative process. If the book is good, the story will keep you in your seat longer, working towards finishing.
The amazing narrators reading audiobooks bring a seasoned layer of acting to their vocal tone, inflection and style while reading their character’s lines. If I find a narrator I love, I locate every book they’ve worked on, because I know they bring another universe to my experience of the story, even if I’ve already read the book on paper. Audiobooks are a wonder all the way around. If you’re thinking about giving a listen, here is a link to get one free audiobook to see if you like it.
Here are some titles that I’ve enjoyed:
More on Pierre Bonnard
I’m still marinating in Pierre Bonnard after describing his work in the last post. His use of orange and yellow against green, blue, and lavender is particularly effective – and beautiful.
I’m just astounded that he painted from memory, rather than from life or color studies. He must have spent so much time staring and studying his gardens, his rooms, and his people to recall subtle color shifts and varied hues. I’m re-reading the little Abrams Discoveries book on Bonnard (see it here) and fluffing my inspiration for the coming weeks. What are you doing to nurture your inspiration? What’s on the calendar for art-related fun?
Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you in the next post!
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If you really want to separate your work from everyone else’s, every time you come to a Y in the road, don’t think about which way to go; automatically take the toughest route. Everybody else is taking the easiest one.~Richard Serra