If You're a Perfectionist Artist Then You Should Probably Read This...

Laurel Greenfield

If you follow along with my paintings on Instagram, you might've seen a post late last week where I shared an abstract painting I was working on.

I was getting really frustrated with how the painting was coming along and was about to put it away for the day, when I realized something....

For a long time I've approached painting (and so many other things in my life) with the mindset that I "should" just be able to do it easily. And if I couldn't do it easily then I must've been doing something wrong and I needed to figure out what that was...

If I only had 20 minutes to paint instead of 5 hours, I got upset and carried that disappointment with me the rest of the day.

If I couldn't figure out a certain painting in the amount of time I had to paint, then I got angry.

If I hated what I made, I felt stupid and frustrated.

But I finally realized something... and I think I realized it as a result of hearing it from teachers and coaches over and over and over...

I realized that "bad days" and short painting sessions were valuable.

I realized that practice is supposed to suck sometimes.

I realized that it's not about what masterpiece I created that day, it's about the fact that I painted at all.

Some days painting is easy and some days it sucks.

Some days I have 5 hours to paint and some day I have 30 minutes.

Some days I love what I make and some days I hate it.

I used to think that days when it was difficult were proof that I’d never be the painter I wanted to be, but I’m learning that the sucky days are valuable even if it doesn’t feel that way in the moment.

I wanted to share this with you because whether you're a painter or not, I think it's worth reminding yourself that sucky days are valuable and the idea that you should always be able perform at your best is your perfectionism talking.

I hope that this little Monday pick-me-up resonates with you somehow! If it does, let me know!

I'll be sharing more like this in between sharing new paintings as I navigate my own inner perfectionist monster so stay tuned!