Overcoming fear of imperfection in my art

My last acrylic painting began about 8 months ago and when I put the brush down back then, I actually thought I was finished. Ha! How wrong I was. 

Something is missing. This painting wasn't finished all those months ago, I was the one finished with it. But it was a short lived feeling, this being "finished". Since then, this painting has stared at me and I've stared back and it has told me what it needs. 

It's siren song calls to me but I ignore it. There's other more important things I need to do, I simply have no time for it. 

Painting is something I typically do when I "have the time" for it. Of course, I never make the time, but I'm running out of excuses for not picking the brush back up.  

So what's stopping me? 

I can't say I don't have the time anymore or I have more important things to do. The way the world is right now means I have all the time I need, and nowhere to be. I can only describe how I feel when I think about working on this painting. 


A painting feels so permanent to me. The idea that my current skill level is so lacking that it would be a disservice in bringing this creation into the world causes me great levels of distress and anxiety. I don't want to fail it. 

It's this fear of failure or not being good enough that very often keeps me from my artistic pursuits and it leads to repressed expression which is a very unfortunate cycle. It also means I've forgotten something very important. 

Painting is about the process, and the process is messy. 
By holding on to my fear of failing I'm getting in the way of all that it offers me. 
  • A way to express myself without words
  • Learning new techniques and skills 
  • Using my hands in a tactile way to create something 
  • Bringing my dreams, fantasies, and memories to life
  • A way to connect to my Self 

So here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to finish it, and I'm going to do my darn tootin-est best. I'm dedicating myself to this because it's important to me, and I'm worth the commitment. 

I'm going to have a heartfelt conversation with this painting that'll go something like this:

"Even if you don't turn out to be this perfect image I have in my mind, even if I believe you deserve a better, more adept painter who could do a better job of realizing the vision I have for you, I am the one that will be bringing you to life."

What if I end up not being happy with the end result? 

What the hell, I say. It's about the journey itself not the end product. Besides, it's not like anyone else who sees it will ever notice the difference between what my vision was and what's actualized. Here's to having fun with art again!  


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