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Day 25 and 26 Building a Daily Art Habit, How Do You Know When To Give Up On A Painting?

Art Blog Building a daily art habit painting advice personal art journey YouTube video

When should you give up on a painting? Should you just keep trying until it works? When is to soon to give up on that artwork? How do you know if you are just wasting your time on a painting that isn't working. Have you ever wondered about any of these questions?

On day 25 and 26 of building a daily art habit I have combined these days because I did give up on this painting. Now if you have a habit of giving up and never finishing a painting, then you might just have a problem of working through that ugly stage to get to the good stuff. But if like me you hate to admit defeat and will keep trying to figure out how to make that painting work. You will know sometimes you just get to the stage that you just don't want to carry on with that artwork. I had no desire or interest in this painting anymore.  I just couldn't see it working out. I couldn't figure out what to do next on it to make it better, maybe because I just hated it to much. 

So this one is destine for the reject pile. Notice I didn't say the bin. Yes I have given up on this painting for now. But at some point I will figure out what went wrong and fix it to the point that I am happy I wont make those same mistakes again. 

The important thing about when a painting fails is what you do after! 

 They say we learn more from our mistakes than from out successes. 

So I will be thinking about this one and trying to figure out where I went wrong. I will try some other paintings in a similar subject and build my skills and confidence to a point that I can approach this painting again and feel I can succeed. I may not do this at once. I will let the ideas simmer for a bit and get some distance from the artwork. I may even practice parts of it to improve my technique before I tackle this again. I can see I need to practice painting fabric for a start. Doing that pattern on the teacup had me stumped as well. 

So next time you have a painting fail, don't just throw it away and say to yourself " I can't paint those, so I will just not try that again" sticking to safe subjects is not the answer to improving your art.

Ask yourself

What painting skills do I need to improve on to make this painting work?

Do I need to work on my knowledge on composition?

Do I need to practice hard and soft edges?

Do I need to practice drawing?

Do I need to practice painting a particular subject and what part of that subject specifically? 

Do I need more practice or knowledge on colour mixing?

Study that painting fail and try to look at it objectively. Figure out how this painting can help you be a better artist. If you feel like everything is wrong with it just think of three things that really stand out, that you would like to work on. Be honest with yourself. You probably already know and have been ignoring what your weak points are in any painting you do.  

So when do you give up on a painting? You give up when you figure out what went wrong and how to fix it. Spending time trying to be a better artist is never wasted time. It will improve your painting skill not just for that painting that failed but all your painting. You don't have to tackle the issues right away unless you really want to, just make sure you do go back to it in a couple of weeks and work on educating yourself to be a better artist. That is what I call being an active learner. I have done another blog on being an active learner in art if you would like to follow up on this idea. 

So embrace those failures as a chance to become a better artist and not as a defeat. 

Happy Painting in failure and success.  

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