I’ve recently been welcoming artists into my one-to-one Accelerant Mentoring Programme and it’s interesting to hear a common refrain of frustration: “I have an idea in my head but my painting doesn’t come out anything like it.” This leads me nicely to this week’s studio musing – letting go of the outcome, meaning, letting go of our attachment to the outcome of a painting.
So easy to say, sooooo difficult to do! I mean, we all want our effort to have a great payoff right?
The 31-pastels-in-31-days (aka 31in31) Annual Challenge has recently ended. I participated and a variety of work appeared on my easel – some fab, some good, some so-so. While creating each piece, letting go of the outcome was my mantra. My intention was to paint the painting and try not to worry about the result.
Letting go of the outcome is a powerful mindset that encourages us to surrender the need for every pastel painting to be a masterpiece. In doing so, we open the door to a world of creative freedom.
When you create with the sole intention of enjoying the process, just being in the process of painting, you release the pressure and anxiety often associated with perfectionism. You find yourself fully immersed in the act of creation, and this mindfulness can be therapeutic and deeply satisfying. It’s like a form of meditation, where time seems to stand still, and your worries and stresses melt away for that time.
Moreover, letting go of the outcome paradoxically often leads to better results. When you’re not fixated on achieving perfection, you give your creativity room to breathe and evolve. This sense of freedom can unlock hidden possibilities and inspire unexpected bursts of inspiration. You might find that some of your most remarkable pieces emerge when you least expect them!
Letting go of the outcome allows you to embrace imperfection and enjoy the uncertainty of the journey. This is true whether it’s in your artistic endeavours or any other part of your life. There is a transformative power that comes with nurturing a sense of detachment from the end result. It is the doing, the process of creating art, that brings us joy and fulfilment. Letting go of the outcome of a painting allows us to prioritise those positive emotions.
Because I use this mantra on letting go, I take more risks and I’m comfortable with uncertainty. Because of this mindset, after the 31in31 Challenge, I ended up with some pieces that will probably be scrubbed and painted over. I also ended up with work that thrilled and surprised me, pieces that went beyond the idea I had in my head.
Not everything you paint is going to turn out well…and that’s okay! Pastel to paper – that’s the thing baby! I hope this post inspires you to step into your studio with this mantra in your head – letting go of the outcome can open up possibilities!!
I’ll end with this quote which seems as applicable to art as it does to life:
“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.”~ Joseph Campbell
I’m looking forward to hearing your response to this idea of letting go of the outcome. How well do you manage to do this? How has it helped? Do you struggle with this concept? I’d love to know so be sure to leave a comment!
Until next time!
PS. If you’re interested in purchasing any of these pieces, be sure to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org