I came across a great quote today.
“People teach what they need to learn”
I couldn’t agree more. Whenever someone says to me that they can’t paint, I always convince them that yes, yes they can because you can’t be “wrong”. Everyone has a different style and if you paint what you see or feel, whatever that may be, it can’t be wrong. We all see and feel things differently and that’s what makes art so unique. In fact, that’s the whole beauty behind it.
I say this to people because I truly believe it, yet when it comes to my own painting, I often struggle with this. I have a hard time trusting myself that what I envision is “right” and will look good. Especially in the early stages of a painting, when it doesn’t look like much, I often what to give up and not finish it because I fear that it won’t be good enough when it’s done, and I’ll be disappointed.
I tell my friends at school all the time not to stress over exams or school and just do their best. What’s the worst that can happen? So you fail an exam, or a class, so what? You’ll take it again, and life will go on. Nobody cares, only you. So stop being so hard on yourself. I think I repeated this little monologue at least a dozen times in the last week, since we just had final exams, yet at any given time, I have at least 3 or 4 paintings on the go. Why? Because I’m scared to “ruin” them. I begin a painting when I have an idea, then the next day, I’m scared to make a brush stroke in fear of ruining what I started. So instead, I start another painting. And I keep doing this until (usually due to lack of space) I eventually convince myself to just go for it and paint.
I need to learn to take my own advice.
Advice one: you can’t be “wrong” when you paint, so just do it!
Advice two: Don’t fear failure. What’s the worst that can happen? When it comes to painting, this is so trivial. I mean realistically, you just paint over it! No big deal at all.
Oh so you came here because you want to see a painting and not read about my inner thoughts? Fine, here’s one for you.
I was inspired to paint this piece in the midst of studying for exams. I find studying for exams to be a stressful, dark, and lonely time – easily my least favorite time of the school year. I worked on this piece periodically throughout the exam period and it really helped me relax and forget about the typical exam stress. I started with the background using acrylic paint and a palette knife.
Next I started painting a lighthouse. I think I was subconsciously inspired to paint a lighthouse since it symbolises light and hope during darkness. Pretty fitting during exam time!
Over the next week or so, I would dab at it whenever I needed a break from anything school related. I slowly added some details.
And eventually was left with this.
Do you feel like you try to teach other people what you yourself need to learn? If so, what do you try to teach? I’m really curious if this is just me, or if this is common.
By the way, that quote is from the book “The Happiness Project” which I highly recommend.
Like this painting? The original is for sale here.