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I Gave Myself Permission To Fail, And Here’s What Happened
Photographer Maria Eves Shooting at Lake Taupo


Do you ever feel like you’re stuck in a rut? I have been feeling like that with my photography lately. Like I just want to create something amazing, but I just don’t have the drive or inspiration to get out there and do it.

Then I took a watercolour painting class.

As I sat there in my camping chair by the gently flowing river, the teacher stood up in front of all of us budding painters and told us to let go of the outcome when we’re painting. To just paint what came to us from the environment and not worry if our work was “good” or not.

In that moment, it all made sense. There is so much pressure to be perfect these days that I have lost the ability to experiment!, To be wild, let my creativity run free, and not worry about the outcome.

Once I gave myself permission to get messy, make mistakes and be ok with that, I got my creativity back. It started to be fun again, and I started wanting to do it more.

Perfectionism is sucking the joy out of so many things in life that used to be fun.

I like to think of it as going back to being a kid again. Kids don’t care if what they are doing is perfect, or will make them money. They are in the moment, just having fun and expressing themselves.

We need to go back and find out inner child and learn from them. Learn how to explore, experiment, and make a mess. You can learn from the outcome and make adjustments for the next time. But first, you have to let your creativity flow, and get your work out there. Otherwise, there will never be anything to improve on.

So as I sat sprawled across my tartan blanket with my blank piece of paper and a colourful palette in front of me, I took my brush and just had fun. I painted teal swishes for a river, long pointy emerald green leaves and a messy bush of all shades of green. As it started to rain lightly, it made little star shapes on the paper.

It was fun and in the moment. With happy little mistakes from the rain.

That picture wasn’t very appealing, but it has so much meaning to me because I was putting my thoughts, senses and emotions into it. Even the environment itself was physically contributing to my art.

I repeated the process multiple times, each time the art looked a little more visually pleasing. But the point was that I was completely present with what I was creating, and enjoying the process.

I am so inspired now to go out and take photos, and create art without worrying about the outcome. I have that spark back that drew me to art and photography in the first place.

Art and life is a process. You’re never going to get it right first time, and that’s ok. Most of the time your work ends up better after you have been through the process of getting it wrong over and over and learning from your past experiences.