Earlier this morning I finished the painting I’ve been slowly — and intentionally — working on. It was a nerve-wracking moment for me. I liked the painting as it was, but I felt it needed more detail. That’s one of the areas I’m focusing on in my artwork now, striving to be more patient, adding in finer touches, giving my paintings more little details that will bring the scene to life and — hopefully — take my art to the next level.
I’m not good at details though, and I fretted about my decision. Should I attempt it? Or should I just call it good and go on?
Recently as my husband and I drove to the city, I saw a rocky area along the highway with lovely little pink flowers blooming amidst the rocks. I would have loved to get a photo of it, but at seventy miles and hour on I-49, that wasn’t going to happen. So I just made a “mental picture” to keep in my head. These rocks and wildflowers were the perfect details for my painting.
As I approached my easel this morning, I took a bit more time than usual in setting up my workspace. I remembered my new “intentional attitude” and asked myself “Exactly what do I intend to do with this painting today?”
I laid out my palette. I carefully mixed the colors I would use. I chose the brushes I thought would be best.
At that point there was nothing more to do but take a deep breath and begin making brushstrokes, putting paint to canvas.
A short time later, I signed the painting. It is done, if only because I say it is. There are other things I might choose to do, but I’m leaving it as it is. I’m not completely satisfied with my rocky ledge and wildflowers, but I’m happy that I took the chance and added them in.
Later, as I logged on this morning, I was greeted with a quote about success and failure. That made me think a bit. I could so easily apply the ideas to my landscape paintings. Oh, I have failed so many times! And I will continue to fail many more times. But through those failures, I’ve moved closer to becoming the artist I truly want to be.
I have learned a lot of lessons about art, and I’ve learned valuable lessons about life, as well. Perhaps the most important one is understanding that success will never come unless we accept the risk of failing.
I took a chance this morning and I painted in a rocky ledge with wildflowers. I did it willfully and intentionally. It’s not perfect, but it represents my desire to grow as an artist. Every brushstroke I make brings me a little nearer to where I want to be.
So my words of wisdom today are these: You won’t succeed unless you try.