This Post is by Keith Bond, Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews. Find out how you can be a guest author.
If you are like me, you may sometimes avoid certain paintings (or whatever your art medium may be), because of a fear of failure. There are certain ideas that I have that I am excited about. I can visualize them in my mind. I know how I want them to turn out. Yet, for some reason I avoid beginning the painting. I put it off because I am not sure how to paint the subject. I feel that I may not yet have acquired the technical ability to do the painting how I want. Yes, I am afraid of failing. For me this happens equally in the studio as well as when painting plein air. Fortunately it doesn't happen as often as it did earlier in my career, but it still occurs from time to time.
I have learned, though, that when I step out of my comfort zone and attempt to paint something beyond myself, I learn the most. While it is true that some of the paintings do fail, they were very valuable learning experiences.
Some of the paintings don't fail, though. They become gems. In fact many of my favorite paintings are those that I didn't know "how" to paint. I experimented, problem solved, relied on intuition, inspiration, faith, even luck, and dipped into my "basket of techniques" which I have acquired from all of my previous painting experiences. By putting all of these components together, and tackling the problems that seem larger than myself, I can rise to new heights in my artistic development. You can, too.
Wayne Gretzky (the great hockey player) said, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."
This great truth can be applied to every aspect of your life. For your artistic goals, you cannot 'score' if you never take a shot at it. The more shots you take, the more times you will score. And, just like in hockey, the ratio of successful shots will increase. You will have fewer and fewer misses the more you simply practice, practice, practice. These successes will give you greater confidence which will carry you a long way down this obstacle-laden path we call art.
So why don't you try that work of art that you want to do, but have put off for so long? Try doing it this week. Step out of your comfort zone. Step out of that box that is holding you in. Jump in front of that train! Your artwork may fail. But it may succeed. Either way, though, you will have learned something and will be a better artist for it. I challenge you to try it – no, I dare you to try it! I once read something from a very accomplished and successful artist who "dared himself" to do a painting. Who can turn down a dare - especially a double-dog-dare?! (Editor's Note: We may create a slight breach of etiquette here, but we suggest perhaps you consider challenging yourself with the sinister Triple-Dog-Dare).
PS I will join you in taking the dare. I will attempt painting something that I have put off for a while. Let's return and report on our experiences; lessons learned, frustrations, failures, successes, moments of elation and inspiration. Don't create the piece in hopes that it is your next masterpiece. Simply do it out of the pure desire to create. But keep your standards high. Push yourself. Have fun, and learn something.
Editor's Note - what about you? What techniques do you use to push yourself to new level? Let us know in the comments, we look forward to hearing from you.