Failure feels horrid! Today I watched as a student in a painting class I was teaching fell into despondency when the technique she attempted – applying oil paint with a palette knife – produced results she disliked. I could feel her frustration, anger and self-accusation!
Her face reminded me of my own feelings last week, when I failed to accomplish something I hoped for. On Wednesday, I had been bold and asked a man of considerable reputation and standing in the art world to write about my recent exhibition. After initially agreeing with enthusiasm, he later refused.
Rationally I knew he had valid reasons for refusing my request - he was well within his rights. Nevertheless, I still felt a sinking feeling of disappointment, the dull brewing of doubt and a rising sense of weariness at having to relentlessly push my own barrow on and on, without respite.
His final words to me after telling me about his change of heart were, “I hope you enjoy your weekend, with your beautiful little family.” I pondered these words. I pictured each of my three children in turn, their characteristic expressions, their energy and life force, their vulnerabilities. And it dawned on me that I am rich beyond measure. Even though I am thoroughly committed to pursuing my work as an artist, no work whatsoever can offer me the wealth and success I already experience sharing in the lives of these three young people!