Let’s have a quick chat about something we can all relate to – the ‘failed painting’ conundrum.πŸ˜‰

Whatever words you use – disaster, crap, a mess, a waste of materials – we all know that kind of thinking leads nowhere helpful, and yet it can be so easy to slip into.

I recently shared a post on Instagram offering seven ways to think about a painting that didn’t work out that do not include the word ‘failed’ {or ‘sh*t’ πŸ˜‰}, and it struck a chord!

Here’s my list:

πŸ–Œ A trial run
πŸ–Œ An experiment
πŸ–Œ A learning experience
πŸ–Œ An interesting detour
πŸ–Œ A discovery piece
πŸ–Œ Unfinished
πŸ–Œ Bonus work!

Some of the artists who read the post kindly added to the list in the comments, so we have even more ways to think about ‘failed’ paintings.😊

Things like:

πŸ–Œ ‘A fabulous surface to paint on’ {@sharon_bruster_artist}
πŸ–Œ a way of ‘experimenting with glazes and other techniques that I would normally consider too risky’ {@jillsapiente}
πŸ–Œ an opportunity for ‘using the topography of the piece to make something completely different on top’. {@heatherroy19}
πŸ–Œ ‘the underlayers’ {@andreamosey_art}
πŸ–Œ ‘firestarter’ {@melaniethompson1} {On reflection – this could go one of two ways – inspiration for a new piece, or literally a way to start the log burner going! πŸ˜† I’m not sure which Melanie meant but both work!}

Isn’t it amazing what a bit of reframing can do?!

An artwork that didn’t work out is really just an artwork that didn’t go where we thought it would go, or where we intended for it to go.

It’s not INHERENTLY bad or a failure, and it doesn’t mean anything about us as artists or our art, unless we decide that it does.

It’s all in how we choose to think about it.

We can listen to the demons, or we can choose a kinder – and frankly more useful – thought.

And it is a choice.

It’s never a FACT that your work is crap, or a failure.

If you’ve got a batch of ‘firestarters’ in your studio {who hasn’t?!}, take this list and look at them with fresh eyes!

For more ideas for that ‘failed’ painting hanging around in your studio with a bad attitude, see this post.

How do you think about those pieces that don’t ‘work out’? What definition would you add to this list? Share your thoughts in the comments – I’d love to know! There’s a lot of possibility here. πŸ˜‰