attemptWhat would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?

The answer to this question is your life’s journey. Isn’t it amazing? One question and there’s the answer.

Knowing where my heart lies inspired me not only to follow it, but also to start a new kind of project. It’s about what you can do if you CAN fail. Failure is part of the journey. I’m not talking about epic, hungry and destitute failure. Simply, this-is-far-from-my-best-work, kind of failure. It’s the Betamax of failures.

I start my project by unwrapping nine 4” x 4” canvases. I have owned these blank canvases for six years. I didn’t want to use them for fear of ruining or wasting them. I didn’t have an idea for their potential so they just sat. And sat. And moved to several homes. And sat some more. And so did the rest of my  canvases, my art paper, my art supplies and all the other pieces I’ve collected throughout the years.

The moment I remove the plastic from these canvases is like opening a present, one I gifted to a better version of myself. A version I had finally decided to be.

One would think that going to art school would give a person creative license and freedom. But instead, it made me a perfectionist. Everything had to be an A+ assignment. I have spent years watching un-art schooled friends create works of art, completely unaware and unbothered that their work was not perfect. I wanted to be this free. The splash-paint-on-a-canvas type. So I take my first step and begin opening tubes of paint.

I buy more brushes and more paint. I buy stencils for my nerdy designer side. I buy more modge podge. I begin exploring all the colorful beads and trinkets I had collected over the years as actionable items instead of a dusty collection for a rainy day.

I make palettes out of old cardboard pieces, a spray booth out of an old box. I rummage through my drawers and bring everything out into the open.

I begin experimenting with paint and masking tape and stencils. Nothing looks pleasing. The paint and stencils don’t work the way I hoped they would. I go back to a few canvases every few nights and look at them. What do they want to be?

I take a walk and pick up a newspaper. I cover most of a painting I had started with a collage of cartoons and color from the publication. And beads and some gold chain sticker. The underpainting showed though like a light through a crack. It is better than I imagined. I could never have tried to get to this point. It just happened. I know now that I have to go in without expectations and just let each piece take shape on its own.

I begin trying other experiments with crepe paper and rhinestones and wrapped gold string. I mix new colors. I mask more shapes. I’m detached from the outcome. I am having fun. I spend a whole Saturday half watching Netflix and working on new ideas.

heart

With license to fail, I can fail masterfully. Fail as part of the journey. And have fun and perhaps encounter some happy accidents along the way.

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