So this is a little bit of encouragement for any and all out there who may find themselves getting a little discouraged in their artistic journey because lets face it we all do from time to time. So don’t think for one minute that it is just you because it isn’t.
First of all regardless of where you are in your artistic journey please for the love of god just stop comparing what you do to the work of other artists! Social media has a lot to answer for when it comes to this because us humans are fickle.
Stop & think about it for a minute and ask yourself one question:
How many artists do you think post their failed paintings either on their websites or on social media?….Answer: 0
Well? I will tell you - very few, if any so just bear that in mind when you are scrolling through your social media feed and toying with the idea of shredding your latest painting & burning your paint brushes - You are seeing their best! There will probably be another 10 paintings you will never see that were distinctly below par. As you hone your craft the ratio of successes does increase but please don’t think for one minute that the failures stop because they don’t…..ever!
One way you can tip the odds in your favour is to adjust your approach to learning. If you want to be an artist learn to be an artist don’t just try and copy someone else. You are not them so nothing you produce will ever be as good as the ideal that you have in your head even if in actual fact what you have produced is better!
This is why I detest the whole step-by-step method of teaching that art books & magazines encourage - because it fosters the mentality of comparison rather than growth.
If you make a mistake in a step-by-step exercise you class the painting as a failure don’t you, in fact our whole education system is based on this premise when you think about it….
You work hard then you get tested and if you don’t pass the test you are classed as a failure! Sorry but that’s a bunch of crap and also a terrible mentality to foster in young people! - no wonder so many have a ‘well what’s the point?’ attitude. At some point they suddenly realise that regardless of how inventive, creative, ambitious & innovative they are they will always be compared to someone else’s ideal and that sucks and we should change it!
Surely we should be fostering a culture of encouragement rather than correction!…
As artists we should learn to embrace our mistakes because the more you make the more you learn! And consider this - who decides what a mistake is anyway when you are painting? Art is subjective so what someone else considers a mistake will be considered by someone else as an innovation. Some of the best paintings in the world came about as the result of a so called ‘mistake’ so grow, learn & develop!
The day you stop making mistakes is the day you stop learning! After all you didn’t learn to walk by standing still did you?….
Something I make a point of saying in every demo & workshop that I do is that the next time you are looking at your latest creation and comparing it to the work of some other artist or to a photograph in a magazine just remember that the only difference between you and that artist is not ‘talent’ or some mythical arty gene that unfortunately you have not been blessed with but rather it is simply that they have produced more bad paintings than you have and that they have made many, many, many more mistakes than you! Just take a second to let that sink in because it is a very, very important thing for you to learn if you are going to progress with your art in any way!
I am also very firmly of the belief that very often the reason many newbie painters do not progress as they should is 100% down to the way they have been taught which is something I illustrate and explain clearly in my online watercolour courses.
It’s not about talent either - you are not preordained by the cosmos to become an artist! No one is born an artist even Turner had to learn so to say that you aren’t any good at painting because you weren’t born with the ‘talent’ is just nonsense. Pick your path, work hard & make lots & lots of ‘mistakes’ and you WILL get there! - Talent has nothing to do with it!!
So my arty friends go forth make mistakes, lot’s & lot’s & lot’s of them in fact and embrace them for the wonderful things that they are - Stepping stones on your journey to artistic greatness!
You can become the fantastic, amazing artist you want to be…of that I have no doubt but that hinges on one thing…..YOU!
You need to stop thinking you can get their without making any mistakes! Change your attitude. Yes, embrace your victories but learn to love & cherish your failures for it is your failures that will make you great!
Need some help?….Why not have a look what’s available in my Watercolour Academy it’s free to join and is being updated with new content every month!
Anyway till next time - keep the faith and keep painting!