Fear of Fear of Failure!

I recently read somewhere that painting only starts when fear of doing nothing exceeds fear of failure. What’s with that? Why are we so afraid to fail?  I also have read that you learn best from your failures. Well, only if you are paying attention.

With painting there are plenty of areas that can go bad: you started with an uninteresting or just bad composition, your color harmony was off key, your edges were boring, your values didn’t make sense, you had trouble with your materials, your model kept moving (my problem! Look at her now!)

or you were actually not inspired and were painting for some other reason (any of which would be the wrong reason). Most of the time failure happens when your vision doesn’t match the reality you created. You, the artist, are the only person who would know this. So is it a failure for anyone besides you? If every other person in the entire world loved it and it was a failure to you is it a failure?

My friend Mike asked me if it is really freedom to fail. I guess I wouldn’t say that’s the definition of freedom, but I do think that if you don’t allow for the possibility you are not free to attempt anything new. And that brings me to my painting.

There is an area in this painting that doesn’t make me happy. (Isn’t that always the way.) I don’t have a good reference for it. My vision of how cool it was going to look isn’t yet realized and I’ve spend many hours now on this one area yet it kind-a looks like it did days ago. As I worked it this morning I painted much thicker than I ever do. Opaque thick paint. I liked what was happening with the brushwork. It doesn’t look like a “Lorena Pugh” to me; it’s different. The fact that this painting isn’t destined for anyone with a preconceived notion of what it should look like is definitely freedom.


I will work on this more tonight and then I have 4 days left to meet my goal.


About Lorena Pugh

I'm a Rhode Island artist sharing some work on these blogs

3 responses to “Fear of Fear of Failure!

  1. I think you are heading in a good direction with this. Paint on!


  2. Just found this, by accident. Wonderful! Your writing is almost as excellent as your painting! Paint on.


  3. Liz Smith

    Hi Lorena! I just wanted you to know that I am donating “Rapturous Repose” (The Golden on the Couch) to a charity called, “Zane’s Run”. I had it beautifully framed a couple of years ago and thought that this would be a terrific donation and bring quite a bit of money to the cause. I also printed out your bio for information to go along with it. Your painting brought me great joy and filled my heart every single day and I wanted to be able to do the same for someone else (I just can’t paint as well as you :). Thank you again for your precious gift. Liz Picklo-Smith


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