Are you one of those people who hates it when you have put in hours and hours of labor and materials on a project just to come to a place where you have literally, and figuratively painted yourself into a corner, where there are no other turns to make, and you have to…start over?
Geez I know I am, and I know that I have done this so many times I cannot even count. Part of the extreme dislike for “starting over” in these instances is the 1. loss of income through “wasted” materials, and 2. the loss of income through time seemingly wasted.
Having to start over tends to feel like a failure especially when you started off on your project with all these grand ideas and vision only to find that you have fallen flat.
Who doesn’t hate that?
I have been working on a piece for over a year, an oil painting. I have started it, stared at it, started over, repeated the process over 3 times (I know you are thinking, Really? 3 times is no big deal. Well it is when the canvas is as tall as you and twice as wide…that easily $100 + in oil paint gone or rather painted over by more oil paint…ok getting back on track) and each time I have started over I have come back to the start with less energy, less desire, more frustration.
It got to the point where I just wanted to get the thing done and gone and literally never look at another canvas again. Failure!
The biggest problem, the greatest cause for my inability to produce the great image that I know I can, has to do with the fact that I kept coming at the painting trying to salvage the few things that I deemed salvageable. Problem with this is that the salvageable pieces belong to the failed piece as a whole and they really have no place in the new vision.
Now this isn’t always true, but in this instance (3+ ) it certainly is.
So, today armed with my jumbo priming brush and an attitude, I began to paint over what I had worked so hard to preserve in a shade of washed out indigo-black. And as I painted over what once was, divorcing myself for the things I was trying so hard to keep, something awesome happened.
I became re inspired! I began to see an image on the canvas that I had not seen before and a fire and thirst to sling paint and bring this image to life is burning in me even as I write this blog.
So what is the point? Simply this, that as a wise man (I think it was Alexander Graham Bell, don’t quote me though) said something to the tune of “I have not failed I just found another way of doing it wrong.” In other words, there is discover even in our aims and misses.
Starting over shouldn’t be looked at with disdain but with an air of respect and delight! With the same gusto and hope that a person scratches a lotto ticket hoping to uncover the big win, so should we, artists and writers, dreamers and creatures, tackle our restarts.
Let me back track just a bit before bringing this to a close. Last night, as I sat having prayer and singing songs of worship, the image of a woman with hair deep and black came to my mind, but it wasn’t until I erased my canvas today that I was able to see her clearly and with a fire to bring her to life. And although I have not begun to do so yet (as I need to buy her her own canvas) she is more vivid and beautiful looking at her upon the void of what was supposed to be a failure.
So folks, start your adventures, back track if need be, keep your heads up and keep your hope on fire. Don’t hate the do-overs, count them as blessings and pull out of them the magic that is hidden within them.