Allowing Do-Overs

Over the past week I was painting tulips. I’ve painted tulips before. Even earlier this year from a grocery store bouquet:

This time I was so excited to be working on a painting with flowers from my garden. The first of the season. It’s my favorite way to paint and I look forward to it all winter long.

Red Tulips Brought into My Studio to Paint

After a while I started to think the painting wasn’t going well. But this often happens in the middle of a painting. It doesn’t look right until I add a few more details.

And so I added some more layers. And more layers.

And instead of fixing my faltering painting, I overworked it to the point of no return.

Eventually I had to admit it wasn’t a success.

At first I was frustrated and mad. Mad at spending so much time on something with nothing to show for it. But although I didn’t have a finished painting, my time wasn’t wasted.

I keep coming back to my word of the year. GROW. Growth is sometimes messy. Failure is often part of growth. We learn things when we fail. Probably more than when we succeed.

And so I’m allowing myself a do-over. I’ll take what I learned with my unsuccessful painting and I’ll try again.

Nobody likes to talk about failure. My favorite artists don’t mention the paintings that don’t work out, but my guess is that they have some, too.

If you’re struggling. If something you’ve worked on recently didn’t turn out as you wanted it to, don’t be frustrated. Don’t give up. Allow yourself a do-over. Take what you learned from your “failure” and let it help you GROW.