The art mentorship group I’m a member of is currently working on a challenge where we are instructed to “kill our darlings,” (based off a William Faulkner quote) to not be afraid to sacrifice our paintings for the sake of growth, and something better. (We we’re instructed to do three 20 minute paintings, with the intent to wipe out each one). I made a little video of my initial response:
when I first read the challenge, I didn’t want to do it. I’m not new to speed painting, I love it actually, and I’m definitely not new to wiping things out when they aren’t working.
But what about when they DO work?
I thought, I don’t have the time or paint to waste. My baby only naps for so long and you are asking me to give up an hour of that (seven times, by the way)? Then I realized... aha... that is the issue. That I saw risk, experimentation, and trying something new as a waste.
Naturally, the first painting I did for this exercise, I actually loved. But to keep it would be completely missing the point.
So as you can see in the video, I wiped it. It was cathartic. It was an act of believing I had it in me a second time, that letting it go would make room for better marks later.
Growth and experimentation are never wastes. What are the darlings you need to kill? What is good that could be... great?
*cover photo by Jenn Hopkins (www.jennhopkinsphoto.com)