Sometimes something that starts off promising enough can unexpectedly take a wrong turn somewhere along the way and derail completely and inexplicably. Like this painting that Shannon and I worked on for 6 fun but ultimately frustrating hours one night before Christmas. Maybe it was the fact that we were working on a deadline, which neither of us enjoys. Or maybe it was that the painting was to be for a friend and the expectations we set for ourselves were more than we could realistically meet in the time we had. It could have been because we were trying something new, in imitation of another artist's work, and not being true to our own unique vision. It might simply have been the weather or the phase of the moon or any number of factors completely beyond our control. Whatever the cause, despite our best efforts and intentions, this painting just wasn't working.
So, in one quick moment, tired and frustrated, we decided to whitewash the whole thing except for the parts we really loved. This technqiue always works to salvage the best of the piece and yet push the whole thing in a new and better direction than it had been headed. We tell ourselves it's just another step in building up the richly layered backgrounds we love.
But even after this, it soon became obvious that what we really needed was a clean slate. And occasionally, you just have to be willing to let it all go--the expectations, the hours of hard work, the vision you had in your head, the If Only and the We're-So-Close-But-So-Far-Away--for a potential there's no guarantee of.
So in the end (though it wasn't the end), we let it all go. And it was both sad and liberating.
Never be afraid or ashamed of failure. It is evidence you are no longer sitting on the sidelines. Because we all know you may lose, but you will never win if you don't get off the bench and get in the game.
When was the last time you thought you had made nothing but a mess only to persevere and end up with something more beautiful--and more satisfying--than you could have ever planned?