Sunday, June 10, 2018

Risking Failure

© Robin Edmundson, 'Overgrown', watercolor work in progress

I do not like to fail.

I take it personally and it makes me feel like I am fundamentally and irreparable flawed.   I don't like that feeling. 

Since I have never figured out how to learn new stuff and do it perfectly right off the bat, I have trained myself to risk the failure,  try new things anyway, and work through it. 

There are times, like lately, when I am working hard and mostly producing failure after failure. Even when I have a good start, I often ruin a piece in a later stage.  [The painting above looked OK at this stage, but I killed it the next day.]  My pile of crap paintings is very high.  Every evening I wonder if I should just quit painting altogether and get a 9 to 5, which would at least pay the bills.

And every morning I decide to trust.

I trust my intuition that says to continue.  I trust that I will figure it out.  I trust that someone will show up that day be supportive.  I trust that people will buy my work so I can afford to continue.  I trust that I'll know what step to take next. 

Trust is my best strategy for dealing with failure.   What is your best strategy? 

I'd like to invite you to join our Best Self facebook group where we can talk freely about becoming our best selves - and all the messy work that entails.  In addition, I have another group, The Well Balanced Artist, for creatives of all kinds and in all stages of their creative lives, who are trying to balance their art, business and personal lives.   


  1. I suppose after I wallow for a bit, I return to hopefulness - that the next one will be better, that I'll continue to improve. I think this is very much related to your trust, though it lacks the outward look for help. One of the dangers of living and working alone for so long, I suppose (hoping it's not just staight-up narcissism). I like your approach and will give it a try next time I find myself wallowing. Interaction with and the help of others make life so much better!

  2. I think every artist experiences this. I have times when several things in a row don’t turn out well at all. At that point the thought crosses my mind that I will never be able to paint anything worthwhile again. But that is a lie so I try not to entertain it. I have been known to paint something 3 x before getting it right. Each time I learn what not to do the next time. So I try to chalk it up as a valuable learning experience!


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