I’d like to share with you two different iterations of a watercolor I painted of my brother’s beloved cat, Toño.
My initial inspiration was from a photograph taken of Camilo working while guarded by Toño, who wanted to make sure Camilo wasn’t disturbed. You can see how serious Toño is from his expression in the first image below.
It was from this photograph that I painted Toño initially, and wasn’t at all happy with the result.
So I tried again but first took the time to prepare a pencil drawing of Toño. I transferred this sketch to my sketchbook, then painted him a second time. Much better!
Lessons learned–yet again–from this watercolor project. I need to slow down and not rush to achieve a result.
Here is a list of mindsets I have made for myself that help me be persistent and and patient as I develop a piece of artwork.
- Slow down! Don’t rush to make a finished piece. Focus on each moment.
- Talent is not the only gift needed to create artwork. Deliberate practice will take you further in achieving the results you want.
- Be patient in the work. Stay with your painting as it develops. Do not focus so much on the end result but on what is being learned from the practice at each and every moment, whatever the end result turns out to be.
- Be consistent and persistent. If you are working consistently there is no way you won’t improve. Have patience and faith in yourself and focus on gains that are evident in the long term, not just the short-term hours or days.
- Recognize weaknesses and shortcomings. Regard each piece as a practice, a study, a learning experience. Don’t set yourself out to make a masterpiece.
- Learn from apparent mistakes. Do not overwork one piece. Have the courage to see what you have learned and try again by starting another piece.
What about you? What do you do when a work does not meet your expectation? How do you stay motivated and work through your disappointment?