15 October 2013

Taking Risks When Failure is Not an Option

Imagine this familiar storyline from any number of sci-fi or action movies. An imminent threat, such as an approaching meteor, erupting volcano, spreading contagion, or growing super storm, has the fate of the world at risk

In the control room or cargo plane or reinforced bunker, a small band of special forces or scientists or everyday citizens develop an audacious plan to save the world. As tension mounts and they review their roles, the grizzled leader says something like "We get one shot at this. Failure is not an option."

I've decided to take that on as a motto for my studio, but for a different reason. The fate of the world doesn't rest on my painting. There is no life and death situation at hand when I step into my studio.

Instead, quite literally, failure is not an option. I can't fail in the studio. Oh sure, I can paint better or worse. I can get closer or further away from painting what is in my heart. But I can't fail.

In my studio, failure is not an option. It's just not possible. I cannot fail.

Sunday night I brought that attitude into my studio. I had been working on a small 12" x 12" canvas but was feeling meh about it. I had a pep talk with Kevin and remembered that I can't fail. I wanted to paint a giant eye on the painting. So I took a risk and did. And I found a new energy in both the painting and how I felt about painting.

Since then I have returned to the studio and have been actively pursuing risk taking, liberated by the knowledge that failure is not an option. It feels like soaring.

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