It’s Only Paint

If you are willing to do something that might not work,

you’re closer to being an artist.

Seth Godin

The unfinished canvas sat on my shelf for three years.

A pencil sketch of two women bathers standing in the ocean was lightly drawn. An outline of what I imagined to be two friends in their retirement years, comfortable in their soft bodies as they enjoyed the ocean water lapping at their ankles.

It looked good. It was just what I wanted to paint. But it sat unpainted. I’d pick it up from time to time and put it back. What if I didn’t do it right? What if I got the paint wrong? What if it was flat and lifeless? What if I I didn’t get the water right or know where to shade the bodies?

Doubt is part of the creative process.

Danielle LaPorte

One day when I picked it up thought what if you like it?

And so what if you don’t like it? It’s only paint.

A funny thing happened – I liked it. Not all of it. But the part that matters, the women in the water, the life and breath of the painting, I like.

The clouds aren’t good. In my eyes. Big deal. Do you see the soft lines of their bodies? The gentle shading on their skin that give definition and life? Do you see how comfortable the friends are as they stand in the shallow surf?

Beyond the colors and shapes and shadows, beyond the sketch covered by paint is a decision to just do it. Be brave enough to fail. Because then you realize that failure is not trying. 

4 thoughts on “It’s Only Paint

    1. Thank you, Linda. It’s where I need to spend more time. The water is always a calming presence.

  1. I love how you help us see the subtleties of their confidence in the water and who they are. Again, with your artist’s eyes, you help people like me to see more. Thanks for your example in being willing to fail to make trying the best part.

    1. Thanks, Cara. Some art feels more personal and this was one of those.

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