The next step

I have worked from the live nude periodically since the early 1970's. This blog started in my second year of working almost exclusively from the figure.

In the fall of 2015 I reintroduced still lifes and an occasional cityscape into my painting repertoire. Rather than abandon this figure blog or start a new one I decided to add them to the conservation.

All drawings and paintings posted on this blog were done entirely from live models or on location.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Fear of Failure 101

I think one of the biggest factors keeping artists from progressing in their work is the fear of failure. For the visual artist failure can cut particularly deep. Ones art is an expression of self. If it doesn't live up to expectations it can hurt on some profound level. But we have to keep things in perspective. When a drawing or painting fails what actually is lost - a few lines on a piece of paper or some dabs of paint on a canvas? I mean really - what is there to be afraid of?

Failed Nude, oil pastel,11 1/2" X 9 1/2", 2012

I dug the top image out of my failure stack of drawings. It may not look too bad in this format but it belongs in that stack. I somehow thought working a two hour pose on a piece of cheep sketch paper was a good idea. I fought the paper the entire time, the paper won. Recognizing and accepting defeat late in the session, I used the last ten minutes to do the sketch below. To me it possesses a life totally lacking in the upper image.

Nude, oil pastel, 5 1/2" X 8", 2012

Every time I step up to the easel or sit with a drawing pad I want to do good work. OK, I want to do great work. That's the goal. But success doesn't lie in fixating on that goal. Success can only be found by working in the moment without expectations of success or fear of failure. My sense of self worth is inextricably tied to my art. But it isn't tied to any single drawing or painting. It is tied to the life devoted to making them.

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