Learning From Setbacks

Hiya! Not to stray too far from ceramics but as a student currently pursuing multiple disciplines, progress in my various classes can inform other mediums. I struggle to really understand what about my art feels personal and unique and sometimes a boost of confidence in one arena may help to bolster an idea.

My first moments back at the studio were disorienting. I feel like I have so many ideas and goals that I don’t know where to begin or how to plan. I suppose recognizing that I am a tad overwhelmed is a good step towards centering myself (pun slightly intended). The first wall I hit was the intersection of the forms I wish to create and the method I wish to use to create them. I am realizing how much I need to challenge myself to have a little faith in my ability and remember that it is still a learning experience even if it doesn’t come out how I would have hoped. Even the most daunting construction method is worth giving ones’ all to just to understand how to better approach it next time. I hope to have some photos of my work in progress by next week. The only thing in my way from creating something inspired and interesting is my own overthinking of the situation and fear to fail. This is where I can learn from my other classes this semester.

Full disclosure, I don’t know if I enjoy painting. I was committed to the idea that I didn’t like to paint for so long because I didn’t understand what to do or where to start, that admitting to enjoying it seems like a betrayal of an (arbitrary) personal rule…  but beyond the struggle to say I am enjoying my time painting, I am learning so much. Mainly, if I did it once and liked it, I can do it again. Not to dismiss the sage advice of the great Bob Ross, it may be a happy accident but it’s important to believe you can do it again and well. I’m not invested in painting the way I am emotionally in ceramics so the fear of failing is diminished. I can make mistakes and not beat myself up over them and learning I can do that with my painting shows me I can do that with anything.

Tumnus Moran Nonobjective Painting Pan

This is my progress on a black and white non-objective painting for my Painting for the Illustrator course. I think the verdict may be out on how non-objective it is but I am very proud of this painting.  There are so many things in this painting that feel like they just fell into place. It seems like an uphill battle to create it again but based on the feedback I received from my professor, I feel the most important thing I can do is to repeat this until I understand what I feel is working and why. I’m really proud of myself but I can’t let the emotional rush of a good piece of art stunt my ability to make another, complacency is not my friend.

And this is where I tie this lesson to my ceramics. It’s hard to take big risks with something you love if it means potentially feeling inadequate. Honestly, the idea of coming up short on my first try, rather than the completely reasonable process of trial and error, makes me scared to take those risks. But I know that I am drawn to ceramics because it feels like the best way to express myself. I need to trust that if I feel so connected to the creation process of my ceramics, I can allow myself the freedom I do in my paintings to get something wrong and have faith I can fix it to my liking and my ultimate goal will show in the finished work and if it doesn’t, that I am capable of learning from my mistakes.

This may have been a bit of a personal rant of a pick me up but I’d like to think I’m not alone in these feelings. I am thankful I can study many types of art and learn how to cope with roadblocks from one medium to another. I feel like a better rounded artist for having the opportunity to explore questions I have of my work in as many outlets as I can.

What’s Playing–  This song has been seemingly following me and has been stuck in my head for too long now.  I’m a bit ashamed I didn’t realize the version of this song I best recognize is Blondie!

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