Adventures in Failure

November 19th, 2016



In class recently, I started trying to paint a standard landscape — land, sea, sky — but when I finished, it looked so dead, so predictable. I was trying to paint the way I thought I should, and the result was not only boring, it was also definitely bad. In a fit of self-loathing, I took my palette knife and scraped as much paint off as I could. The result was accidentally closer to what I wanted — a kind of blurred, rough abstract view. Not a masterpiece or even a piece I would ever frame, but something that was closer to what I saw in my mind. I’m used to judging what I write or paint on the basis of what other people might think of it. Will someone publish it, will someone praise it, will someone validate me? But in this case, my failure was also my fuel — when I took it home, I was fired up to keep trying to capture what I see, the way I see it. Has a failure ever opened up a new way of thinking or a new path for you?

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