This article is by Keith Bond, Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews. You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.
It’s often said that those who fail the most also succeed the most. Conversely, those who avoid failure, don’t achieve much. What they really do is fail to try. They fail to start. Thus they fail to ever really succeed. Seth Godin writes a lot about this principle.
Don’t let this happen with your art. Do you fear failure and thus don’t try those things you want to try – be it subject, technique, medium, etc.? Do you never get around to that big project you have been daydreaming of for years because you might not do it just right? Or maybe it’s the marketing / business side of art. Are you afraid to blog? Do you fear writing or talking about your work? Perhaps you can’t get yourself to ask for the sale.
I have come to learn that failure can be a good thing.
Why failure is good for you.
1. It means you are actually trying new things. You are doing something. You’re not just sitting back waiting for something to push you off that log.
2. It gets you out of a rut.
3. You will learn from your failures.
4. You will have experience to build upon.
5. The more stuff you do – even though you will fail at some of it - the more you will succeed.
I wonder if the most accomplished, most successful artists have also failed the most. They aren’t afraid to push their limits, try new things, step out of their comfort zones. Most importantly, though, they are doing something. They work and work and do and do. Some works are failures, some are successes.
I know some artists who avoid creating their work because of fear. They busy themselves with other tasks, because the ideas they are excited about intimidate them. I’ve been there, too. If you avoid starting that next painting or sculpture because you know it won’t turn out quite how you want it to, then you will never reach the level where you can do it. Inaction does not improve your abilities. Practicing in your mind cannot replace practicing with your hands.
You must create if you want to improve. You will have failures, but they are necessary stepping stones. With time and practice you will realize all you have learned from those failures. And you will see them as blessings.