For the past week or so I’d been moving along swimmingly and without any creative bumps in my quest to paint a tree and Three Little Birds that will bring peace, inspiration, and happiness to whoever sees it. It’s been a process of figuring out how to scale a 6 x 8 inch ink drawing to a much larger canvas and also how to translate it using a new and unfamiliar medium, not to mention the addition of a new design element, the 3 Little Birds.
Much to my surprise, the sketch came easily and transferring the position of the tree from a vertical orientation to a horizontal one happened naturally.
My confidence grew with each brush stroke and the painting began to take shape.
Just when I started feeling really good about the painting and the fact that I hadn’t encountered any obstacles,
I hit a fairly major bump in the road. I was trying too hard to make the red bird perfect. What I ended up with was a serious mess.
In an attempt to erase my mistake and start over, I ended up turning background of the very important space between the blue and green bird into the color that makes you cringe when you take the laundry out of the washer and realize that your favorite red sweater somehow made it into a load of whites. Both the delicate whites and the red sweater are ruined.
Unable to just let it go, I waited for the pink streaks to dry and covered them with a thick layer of white.
Not sure why, but I didn’t toss the painting out. Maybe it’s because of the time I’d already invested or maybe it was because of the vision I had of the finished piece, or maybe it was just plain stubbornness that made me keep going.
I stepped away from it overnight and revisited the situation the next morning. The answer came to me, and while it’s not perfect (because nothing ever is), it’s beautiful and I feel very good about the outcome.
All of the above can be applied to almost any circumstance in life; it’s tempting to just give up when things don’t go according to plan or when life gets messy. But when we hang on and keep trying, even if it’s by our fingernails, things do have a way of turning out.
Sometimes art (and life) doesn’t go quite according to plan.
That’s why we need to be able to take a step back and figure out how to make the best of a situation, even when it looks messy and hopeless.
Almost nothing is as it appears on the surface and almost no one has achieved anything of significance without making and recovering from a mistake or two along the way.