...serenity in motion

If you fear the fall, you’ll never enjoy the ride.

I rent a shared studio space because I have discovered that having a studio in my house doesn’t get any art done.  Because of social distancing, we had to close our facility so I wasn’t getting much painting time in at all.  Much = none.  Here it is, about 6 weeks later and I get back to my easel.  I have been painting for 8 years and every time I step away from it for any great period, I am afraid that I have lost what I know.  It is with trepidation that I face my surface and lift my hand with the pastel.  It is like sticking your foot in the stirrup again after not riding for months and you wonder if you are going to fall off.

Of course, you’re going to fall off.  Gravity works, the horse will go one way and you the other… it is inevitable.  With painting, you will invariably do a failure.  If you do not fail, you aren’t being brave about your art.  It isn’t your ability that is going to fail you, it is your faith in yourself.  When you fail at something, you test your resolve.  Stan Lee was one of my heroes and he said it best as Bruce Wayne’s father, “Why do we fall down, so we can learn to pick ourselves up again.”  I had a young friend ask me about failing.  I told her that she needed to fail more often so she could learn to get past it.  Get good at failing.  Not the actual “being bad at something” but getting past your disasters and moving forward.

Good failures also teach us things.  In art we learn where we are weak in technique and who to ask for help and guidance.  We learn our color palette when we fail and also we learn when to give up on something and try it again but from a different direction.  We test our resolve to keep creating art and find the courage to try again.

I used to ride horses a lot.  I had a friend with a brutal sense of humor who knew that I would learn not only how to fall but also, how to get back on the horse again.  She is also an amazing artist (you should check her out.  Connie Spurgeon, you can find her on facebook.)  I learned that falling didn’t always hurt as bad as I thought it would.  The more often I fell, the less I feared and the more I enjoyed the ride.  I also learned how to fake it ‘till I make it.  You can’t let the horse know you are scared; they will wonder what is out there and be nervous too.  That is when they go sideways, and you don’t.  You can do that with art too, fake it I mean.  The leaps you take when you are faking it will take you places you never expected to be in and sometimes, they will be amazing destinations.

It isn’t exactly like riding a bike, but you will remember the fundamentals.   When you sit before your easel again; Your first or second paintings should be small, you might not like them.  They will get better and you can have the courage to be bold.