Failure or Growth?

I want to share with you a failure of mine. I’ve blogged about failed projects before (like my resin bracelet and two different pairs of socks) and I do my best to figure out what went wrong and what went right. Here’s another:


I’m taking “How to Paint Faces” class over at Kat Can Paint! and this was my first time ever painting a face. The initial drawing is part of the info packet. Once I copied that (just a simple pencil transfer), I followed Kat’s 8 steps to painting skin. Well, I should have read the whole thing before starting.

Firstly, I used my widest brush to create the outlines. That was mistake number one. I should have used my liner brush instead. Secondly, I didn’t really mix my paints well enough. Thirdly, I didn’t read the instructions for painting lips. Lastly, I didn’t wait for the paint around her eyes to dry before outlining the lids and painting in her pupils. I did do something right! Her face was a little too red and I was able to lighten it. Next time, I don’t need to add so much red.

What this really boils down to is a lack of patience. And/or not keeping my hair dryer by my side to dry the paints. I’m used to being able to dive into a knit or crochet project and understand what’s going on. Painting is a new skill for me, doubly so for painting faces. When learning a new skill, I need to read all the directions (like at school!) and make sure I have all my materials with me.

So what went right? I was able to even out her skin tone by trying something different. I’m really proud of the fact that I was able to fix it without help. The really great part was that I did dive into this with both feet and I had a lot of fun painting at home. Even though I was keenly aware that I was making mistakes, I didn’t stop and just kept painting. And at the end, when I saw how wonky her eyes came out I laughed. I laughed at my mistake, I laughed at how silly she looks. I laughed at myself which makes me proud to show off this painting. I’m not ashamed of it and laughing at it has taken away any bad feelings that could have taken root.

The next time I mess up a project, I’m going to take the time to laugh at it and laugh at my newness. I’m not an expert and that’s okay!

  1. not a failure! i like the way it’s coming…. remember, the parts you don’t like can be painted over and re-done! =D

  2. Ooh, thanks for alerting me to this course, I’ve been looking for something like that!

  3. It could be like special effects, like a camera filter one has for Instagram or the iPhone?

  4. Yes, read all the instructions but also, step away from your work from time to time. Your painting is a classic case of working on it in pieces and having “tunnel vision”. I laugh at myself every day because the alternative would be plastic surgery or tears…


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