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Is the joy of painting in the work or the result?

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this question, but here at the SAA we believe that the answer depends entirely on who we’re talking to. For example, if it’s a discussion with a professional artist who is trying to sell their work, then it’s all about the end result - and whether it will sell or not.

Because most SAA members are beginners, or somewhere between struggling and accomplished amateur, the view is very different. There are many hobbies where there is no tangible finished outcome. The pleasure comes entirely from the doing and the emotions and memories that it creates. For example walking, reading or listening to music.

With art it’s a little different. There’s always an outcome: a painting or drawing, whether it’s finished or incomplete. Too many people get overly worried about the finished result, rather than enjoying the journey. As a frame of reference, imagine you were learning to play golf. You wouldn’t think you’d failed if you didn’t get a perfect round, would you? But at the same time you do use the final score as a measure of success. With golf there is certainly no ‘straight line’ progress. Some weeks you do well and then, seemingly for no reason at all, you go backwards. But if you keep all your score cards, and play and practice regularly, you will see overall improvement in time. And the more you play and practice, the better you get!

The same is certainly true with painting. Unfortunately many people throw away their early efforts thinking they’re not good enough. Why not keep them all? The good, the not-so-good… and even the disasters! If you keep them all, over time you will be able to look back and see your improvement, just like the golf score cards. But most of all, enjoy the painting, relax and accept that not every painting must be a success, but it is all part of learning something new.

The SAA is for everyone with a love of painting. To learn more, or to join today, please click here.

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