Why You Should Keep Your Failed Paintings

March 26, 2018 1 min read

A few weeks back we talked about celebrating failures. That if we end the year with zero failed paintings, it may be an indication that we haven’t challenged ourselves as much as we could have.


Upon re-watching Barbara Nechis’ workshop, Tools for Transforming Troubled Watercolors, I’m reminded of another powerful reason to create a failure pile: fixing them is a master class in and of itself.


For me, when a painting crosses over into Failed territory, it lightens the stress I put on myself. I no longer have to worry this stroke or that stroke will ruin. The pressure is gone. With failed paintings I can try whatever I want because I have nothing to lose. I can paint with abandon.

And because the pressure is off, failed paintings offer an opportunity to really consider why a painting didn’t work. You can open yourself up to any possibility for fixing it. That’s what Nechis does in her watercolor workshop and it’s both fascinating and inspiring.

So keep your failed paintings. Keep them in a pile and forget about them for a few weeks. Then pull them back out and listen to the lessons they have to teach you. They can be a powerful teacher indeed.

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