My beautiful late uncle, Derek was like a second father. He lived 150 miles away but was a constant in my life and taught me many lessons. This one springs to mind each time I get frustrated with an artwork that ‘fails.’ It helps takes the sting out of it - I hope it will help you too.
During a family holiday in France when I was 11, it rained incessantly. Not the light rain you can put a hood up and get on with your day as you’re accustomed to doing when you live in Ireland, but the type of downpour, thunder and lightning rain that you have no choice other than wait out.
During this storm, we were all cooped up in our tiny caravan, my dad was snoring on the sofa, my brother Paul was flicking through one of his many tattoo magazines with his ear phones in and my uncle, mum and I were at the table. I was sketching images from one of Paul’s magazines onto the backs of information brochures scattered across the caravan, whilst Derek and Mother reminisced over good times passed.
After perhaps an hour or more, I fell into a stroppy huff when I ‘messed up’ my drawing. Mum tried to console and reassure me that it was a good drawing, my uncle didn’t. He acknowledged it wasn’t my best work and asked;
“Did you like making the picture? I’m guessing you did, as you sat still and quiet for quite some time.’ When I grudgingly said yes, he simply replied, “Well then, a moment enjoyed is never wasted.”
Those words have many been my get out of jail free card time and time again. They remind me it’s ok to create something you aren’t happy with, something that fails miserably and ultimately ends up in the bin.
Because ‘failing’ is important. No, it’s paramount. Every artist ‘fails’ over and over in the process of continual learning and time it gets us closer to our version of success. Only by pushing on, practicing, enjoying the process and being resilient enough to embrace the failures, do we tailor our craft.
Next time you aren’t happy with your artwork, ask yourself if you enjoyed the time you spent creating it and if so, remember;
A moment enjoyed is never wasted.
Do you become a little frustrated or downhearted when an artwork doesn't quite go your way?
If so, I offer you a challenge to change your mindset with tips to claim power over disappointment in 5 minutes using 2 very easy steps, turning a 'mistake, failure or disappointment' to your advantage in order to improve your next artwork.
Plus, I'll get super vulnerable with you and share my biggest disappointment and how it benefited me as an artist.