The next step

I have worked from the live nude periodically since the early 1970's. This blog started August 9th, 2012 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.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Accepting Failure

In his novel Howards End E. M. Forester says "Even the most successful career must show a waste of strength that might have removed mountains ..." In any worthwhile endeavor failure is a given. Without it there can be no success. Over the years I have thrown away hundreds of unsuccessful drawings and paintings. It's like sifting for gold. You have to discard pounds of dirt to discover those few precious flakes. 

Here is an abject failure from a recent group session. I tried something new. I used an earlier drawing of a reclining nude and added the figure behind. The scale of the back figure is too big and the composition makes no sense. Taping this drawing on the wall of my studio the next day I broke into a big smile - what an absolute failure - good for me!

Sweet Failure, oil pastel, 9" X 13",  2013

Fearing failure is not the same as accepting a failure. Fear of failure can keep you from starting something. Refusing to accept a failure can keep you from moving on.  I recently came across a watercolor from the 1990's that I was never satisfied with. I actually dug out some watercolor brushes and paints and spent an afternoon trying to "save" the painting. Of course I didn't save anything. Accepting failure can be hard but it is necessary. It's almost always best to move on - that's where progress lies.

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