“The greatest mistake you can make
in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.”
― Elbert Hubbard “Anyone who has never made a
mistake has never tried anything new.”
― Albert Einstein
Occasionally first time Sociable Art guests tell me they
don’t know why they are here because they have absolutely no talent. My first piece of advice is not to enter into
any endeavor already convinced of your eventual failure. Success does not spring from the seeds of self-doubt. We are all artists. Some of us have yet to find our style or our
medium, but it is in us all.
I decided it would be helpful to share some ideas for
approaching your blank canvas or your first Sociable Art event with the right
attitude. You could call it a pep talk
of sorts. As I was writing my suggestions, I realized, interestingly enough,
that these same rules could be applied to the way you approach your life.
1) Start with and maintain a positive attitude.
There is no greater indicator of eventual failure than a
belief that you will fail. Work and home life can be stressful. This is your time away from it all. You didn’t pay me your hard earned money so
you could stress yourself out. When the teacher gave you finger paints and paint in grade school, you knew you were about to
have some fun. Find that old attitude. Now that you are an adult, laughter, the
company of good friends and wine can help.
2) Ask yourself what you hope to accomplish and set a
If you have zero to minimal experience with painting, you
should not expect to become one of the great masters in one two-hour class. You
are here to build artistic confidence. Remember to enjoy the process of
expressing yourself creatively, rather than worrying about the final outcome.
3) Don’t fight your style.
Your canvas should not be an imitation of someone
else’s. Look to the paintings of others
for inspiration, not unhealthy comparison and competition. When you get this
painting home, there will not be another painting to compare it to.
Abandon the idea that your painting should look like
mine. While in the beginning, it is more
comfortable to follow along with someone who knows what they are doing, just
use my example as a foundation for what you create on your canvas.
You are here to create a work of art that is uniquely
yours. People have a sense for authenticity
in art and in others and it speaks to them.
Even if you are unaware of it, you do have a natural
style. You may tend towards bold brush
strokes and heavy use of paint or you may like precise detail and blending.
4) Do not let fear of failure and self-doubt enter your
Cut yourself a little slack and quiet the voice of your
inner critic. Hesitation and fear of failure are revealed in your brush
strokes. Paint boldly and with
courage. This is not a test and there
will be no grade. This is not your job
and your boss is not hovering over your shoulder. Your husband is not an art critic and his
review when you return home is entirely subjective.
5) There are no mistakes with painting, because you can
paint right over the parts you don’t like.
Know that there is almost nothing you can experience or
paint which cannot be improved with time and effort. We cannot erase, but we can paint over. There are no mistakes, only opportunities to
create something new.
6) When all else fails, add bling.
Distract from shortcomings by
adding glitter paint, rhinestones and a pretty frame. Find that inner beauty and wear it on the
outside for everyone to see.
7) Don’t ever give up.
You can always paint a big huge daisy over it.
Wouldn’t it be cool
if we could just apply these rules to our lives in general? Think of your life as a canvas on which you
can paint what you want. Do you want it
to look like Edward Munch’s “Scream”? or
something more serene? Ideally you want
to create a scene with a balanced composition with elements of color and
emotion in harmony.
Of the rules above, number five is my favorite: There are no mistakes in painting.
Maybe you are trying to paint something beautiful; a red wheelbarrow
in the rain, but it isn’t turning out the way you want. Give yourself a break. This may be the first time you tried to paint
a wheelbarrow. The good news is that you
do not have to live with that awkward, lopsided object which frustrates you
every time you look at it. We do not have an eraser,
but we can paint over it and start to create a new scene. Sometimes it is enough to just replace one
element on the canvas. At other times,
we need to cover the whole thing with gesso and start over.
That’s the great thing about these lives we are living, we
hold the paintbrush and can choose to make ours a beautiful work of art. There are no mistakes, only opportunities to
create something new. Your life should be an inspiring masterpiece, but you may
have to paint over some rough spots along the way.
Take a deep breath, relax, and let your
personality shine through Be brave, and let go of fear. Then tell yourself you
are an artist and you will create a masterpiece that is uniquely yours. Believe in your ability to create something
beautiful, possibly different, but still beautiful. And lastly, don’t ever give up.